New York State Senate approves Addabbo bill to establish school safety task force

The New York State Senate recently passed legislation (S.7928) sponsored by NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. to create a state Task Force to study school safety and make recommendations on how students and school personnel can be better protected from harm.

“Columbine, Parkland, and Sandy Hook are just a few of the names that tragically remind us that greater precautions must be taken to prevent shootings and other forms of violence in our schools,” said Addabbo. “Innocent children and school personnel have been tragically injured or have lost their lives when firearms have fallen into the wrong hands – leaving all of us with broken hearts and demanding solutions to the violence. The Task Force established by my legislation will be charged with studying the issue of school safety, determining what works and what doesn’t, and recommending policies to keep our classrooms safe and secure.”

The 12-member Task Force would consist of four people appointed by the Governor, four chosen by the State Senate, and four named by the State Assembly. In addition to the appointment of four teachers, the other members of the panel must have experience in school administration, mental health, and law enforcement. The Task Force will be charged with delivering a comprehensive report and recommendations to the Governor and Legislature within one year. Among other issues, the Task Force will study the frequency and seriousness of violence that occurs on school grounds, underlying causes of school violence, and safety approaches used by other states and countries.

“We all know that school safety is a complicated issue that requires a multi-pronged solution,” said Addabbo. “Teachers and school administrators will bring a wealth of knowledge to the Task Force, together with those experienced in the mental health and law enforcement fields. I believe this combined expertise will result in important and effective recommendations to protect our children, teachers and other school personnel.”

Addabbo noted that he also sponsors legislation (S.7927) that would require all entrances to public schools to be locked, requiring visitors to be screened by school personnel before gaining admittance to the building. This is common practice in most private schools.

Now that the School Safety Task Force bill has been approved by the Senate, it is under review by the Assembly Education Committee.