Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today announced that the New York State Senate is expected to pass several public safety bills to harden the soft targets of our schools against assault, including two bills he sponsors to help our school districts pay for the expense of improving school safety, and increase penalties for violent crimes committed on school grounds.
Senator Tedisco’s legislation to create a “Guardians for Schools” New York State License Plate (S.7847) would initiate a new “Guardians for Schools” license plate, with the proceeds from the purchase and continued re-registration of the plates to be designated for a fund for armed school resource officers, enhanced mental health screening and counseling, metal detectors, active shooter and other security training at our schools, the purchase of security cameras and other building modifications needed to improve school safety.
Tedisco noted that these are basically many of the same security measures that protect legislators, staff and visitors to the Capitol and the Legislative Office Building in Albany.
The Senate also will take up Tedisco’s legislation, “Suzanne’s Law -- the Assault-Free School Zone” bill to protect children and students from violence on school grounds. The bill (S.2881/A.6582) is named in honor of Suzanne Lyall of Ballston Spa, who went missing 20 years ago last week from the University at Albany. “Suzanne’s Law” increases penalties for assaults and abductions on school grounds by one category higher, resulting in stricter penalties and longer prison sentences. The bill covers pre-schools, day care facilities, public and private schools, trade schools and colleges and universities in New York State.
In addition to Tedisco’s bills, the Senate is advancing a comprehensive school safety legislative package to create a school resource officers education aid program and grant availability to help schools pay for them, boost state aid for school resource officers and to improve security technology at schools, improve access to mental health services for schools, increase active shooter drills, define school shootings as terrorism and improve intelligence to prevent attacks, and enhance access to scanner technology and metal detectors for our schools.
“Today, my Senate Majority Colleagues and I are taking a holistic and comprehensive approach -- not a political one -- to protecting our most vulnerable population in school settings by passing several public safety bills including my ‘Guardians for Schools’ New York State License Plate to help our school districts pay for the expense of improving school safety, and ‘Suzanne’s Law’ to increase criminal penalties for assaults and abductions on school grounds by one category higher to show that New York has zero tolerance for violent crimes committed on school grounds,” said Tedisco.
“Our schools are sacred grounds that should be protected against the threat of violence. Sadly, as we know all too well, that’s not always the case. We should be asking nothing less to protect our kids as we do to safeguard our legislators, state officials, the media and visitors at our state Capitol, that includes providing for schools that want them with armed school resource officers, metal detectors, additional mental health screening and counseling services, security cameras, and other building modifications to improve school safety,” said Tedisco.
“While we need sensible policies in regards to the Second Amendment, it can only be classified as hypocritical to rail against the common sense programs that the Senate is advancing today when some enjoy the peace of mind that they are being protected by armed guards and metal detectors at our state Capitol yet they would deny the same level of protection for our kids when they go to school. As we protect our workplace with these security assets, we should expect no less for our schools,” said Tedisco.
“I want to thank Senator Tedisco and the state Senate for passing ‘Suzanne’s Law’ in my daughter’s honor that will create assault-free school zones and better ensure that our schools are safe places for our students. Now that the Senate has passed ‘Suzanne’s Law’ it’s time for the Assembly to bring this bill forward to protect children from harm,” said Mary Lyall, mother of Suzanne Lyall, and co-founder with her late husband Doug Lyall, of the Center for Hope which advocates for legislation and initiatives to help find missing persons and help the families left behind cope with the loss.
“The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office has been working very closely with our school districts to help improve school safety with our manpower and through our active shooter trainings. Senator Tedisco’s legislation to create a ‘Guardians for Schools’ license plate fund and the other bills passed by the Senate today will help us provide armed school resource officers, training and other resources to the Saratoga County schools that need assistance,” said Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo.
“Since I took office, I have been attempting to get support for a grant-funded school resource officer. Senator Tedisco’s innovative ‘Guardians for Schools’ initiative would support our efforts to fund armed school resources officers and other security measures to protect our schools,” said Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino.
Draft concept designs of what a “Guardians for Schools” license plate could look like are attached with this release along with a picture and info on Suzanne Lyall.