In an effort to remove New York’s distinction of being one of the few states that does not provide tools to law enforcement and courts to fight the activities and recruitment of gangs, Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Peter Rivera, were joined by teachers and members of the law enforcement community to call for passage of legislation sponsored to combat the spreading impact of gang violence.
Last week, the Senate passed, by a vote of 58-1, Senate Bill 4381 which would create "Gang Free School Zones" throughout the State. The legislation is supported by 75 of the 107 Assembly Democrats but has not moved out of the Assembly Codes Committee.
The growth of Gangs throughout urban and suburban communities and increasing gang violence and activities in and around school grounds will be countered through the creation of ‘Gang Free School Zones." The Legislation amends New York State Penal Law and: Defines criminal street gang and membership in such, criminal street gang activity, and school grounds, makes recruitment on school ground punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison; and requires posting of "Gang Free School Zone" signs around the more than 6,400 schools through New York State.
"Gang activity on city streets is making its way into our schools and putting students and staff at risk," said Senator Andrew Lanza (R - Staten Island). "Schools are a place where our children should be safe and secure. This legislation will deter gang leaders from actively recruiting juveniles in and around schools, and will hold individuals accountable who sanction gang related activity on their property."
According to Assemblyman Rivera, "We are here to say that if you are evil enough to threaten the life of a child, if you are evil enough to interfere with their education, and if you are evil enough to place in danger the future of our communities, you ought to be punished in a very special way."