NYC Mayor Adams, schools chancellor call on parents to take role in school safety, check backpacks

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams along with the NYPD and Schools Chancellor David Banks held a briefing on public safety in the wake of the massacre at an elementary school in Texas.

At least 19 children and two teachers are dead after a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety -- an incident that President Joe Biden decried as "carnage" in a call for lawmakers "to act."

The tragedy in Uvalde, about 90 minutes west of San Antonio, comes just days after another deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and amid a rapid rise in active shooter incidents in the country.

"We pour so much into our children and our children mean so much to us," Mayor Adams said. "Yesterday, I'm sure you hugged your children a little harder."

But the mayor had a pointed and important question to ask.

"You have to ask yourself, what have we become?" he said. "Our children must be asking mom, dad, what are you doing, as they watch these cases happen over and over again."

Watch: Mayor's full remarks
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Mayor Eric Adams talks about safety in New York City Schools in the wake of the Texas school shooting.


He noted that children are killing children.

"Nineteen children, 19 babies were shot, by an 18-year-old, and he injured his grandmother," Mayor Adams said.

The mayor offered his heartfelt condolences to those affected by the tragedy in Texas.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who were murdered, the pain is unimaginable, I can only imagine what it is like to get that call," he said as he talked about how he would feel if he got that call about his own son, Jordan. "We need so much more than thoughts and prayers."

He said that the situation is not beyond our control and that he hopes 10 senators "get the courage" to initiate change in gun laws. He also hopes that the Supreme Court re-evaluates the open carry law that they may pass.

In New York City, the mayor says there seems to be no stop to the flow of guns.

"The guns keep coming, it doesn't matter how much we take off the street," he said.

School safety teams found two loaded guns inside New York City schools last week, and the mayor also mentioned an incident where a gun was found in the backpack of a 13-year-old boy at a Brooklyn middle school.

"The child, the boy, had a loaded .380-caliber semi-automatic gun in the backpack there," Mayor Adams said. "Thanks to educators and the school safety team, they were able to avoid a tragedy this time. This time."

ALSO READ | 4th-grade teacher, 10-year-old boy who was 'life of the party' among Texas school shooting victims
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A fourth-grade teacher and two 10-year-old kids were among those killed in a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.


Shockingly, the mayor said 20 guns have been recovered inside New York City schools since the beginning of the school year last fall. He then called on parents to be part of the solution.

He wants them to search their kids' backpacks and look in their rooms, and if you are finding guns and ammunition, "something is wrong."

"Parents aren't only parents," he said. "They are a lifeguard."

It's a notion that Schools Chancellor David Banks shared.

"Every single day, we hear of these terrible things happening on the news," Banks said. "As a country, we are grieving. As a school system, we are grieving. And I know it's something all New Yorkers are feeling together."

He mentioned the tragedy of Sandy Hook in 2012 and said, "It's crystal clear that we do everything we can to keep our youngest New Yorkers safe and protected."

"Our children did not create this world, we did," Adams said. "Children don't manufacture guns. Children don't pass laws. Children are put in harm's way because of the actions of adults, and we are betraying them."

Adams played a video that has been viewed on social media hundreds of thousands of times, where teens waving guns say, "I want a body."

"This is what is being fed to our children," he said, adding that social media was helping to create a "perfect storm."

So far, there has been a decline in shootings of almost 30% for the month of April and continuing into May. The mayor said that the NYPD and their police officers are doing their jobs and it is resulting in lower crime.

Banks also said that there would be a meeting next week with union leaders to talk about safety measures that schools and teachers can take going forward. One topic will be possibly locking school doors at the start of the school day and making parents and visitors buzz in for entry.

ALSO READ | A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings following Uvalde elementary attack
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Law enforcement says the United States has seen a sharp rise in deadly mass shootings.


In New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday also held an emergency meeting with State Police Superintendent Kevin Bruen.

"We are physically going to schools that are within our patrol area," he said. "We're also reaching out to schools and school administrators that aren't necessarily in our patrol areas. We're not going to duplicate efforts."

Bruen said officers both in and out of uniform will patrol campuses for the remainder of the school year.

"It doesn't happen in other countries, rarely," Hochul said. "It happens in a nation that seems to revere the rights of gun owners and the ability to possess guns overs the rights of children to stay alive."

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