NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The $78 million program to lock the front doors of all NYC public schools will start in May with elementary schools.
Schools Chancellor David Banks said Friday he hopes to have the "door locking camera system" in place in all schools by the next spring.
The program is designed to prevent the types of mass school shootings that Banks says "keeps me up at night."
A New York City panel approved the plan to enhance security at city schools in February, but critics have argued the new system is expensive and may not work as intended.
Banks revealed the timeline during this week's virtual public safety briefing, which is focused on safety in schools.
"We intend to lock the front doors once our kids are in school and anybody coming to visit the schools will have to present themselves before entry is made," Banks said. "The doors will not be wide open for anyone to simply walk into.
Banks said the process will take place over a number of months.
"Our school safety agents are being trained in this new system as well. That is a different level of safety, that is not the daily issues we are looking at. That is meant to prevent the mass tragedies that we've been seeing all too often across the nation and we are going to do everything we can to stop that from happening as well."
Right now, the front doors are unlocked and manned by an unarmed NYPD school safety agent.
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