NYS Senate passes school safety measures

Mar 6, 2018

Special license plates to raise money for armed guards in schools are part of a package of legislation passed by the Republican-controlled New York State Senate.

The Senate passed a series of bills Monday evening to bolster school security in the wake of the Parkland, FL school shooting. The measures include a "Guardians for Schools" vanity plate.

The debate started with Democrats asking the Republican majority to support a bill to ban teachers from having guns in schools. Senator Todd Kaminksy, a Democrat from Long Island, said allowing teachers to be armed, as President Trump is proposing, would be “misguided.” Kaminksy’s bill would have banned the practice from even starting in New York.

“Guns in our classrooms is dangerous. It’s a matter of time before something goes wrong,” Kaminsky said. “The answer to our gun problem is not more guns.”  

The measure was defeated along party lines.

The bill was then presented as an amendment to a package of bills by Majority Party Republicans. The GOP is not advocating teachers be armed, but they are also not proposing any gun control measures.

The bills passed instead focus on classifying schools shooters as terrorists, requiring more active shooter drills at schools and putting in scanners to detect guns. Other legislation would provide more money for mental health experts at schools, stiffen penalties for bomb threats and make it easier for retired law enforcement officers to service as school guards.

Another bill would require that the New York City Police Department provide a specially trained, armed police officer to be stationed at the entrance of every school in New York City. The measures would also make it easier for retired law enforcement officials to become armed guards at schools, known as school resource officers, and to be paid more money.  

In a statement, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said, “Schools must be safe havens, where students can learn and teachers can teach.”