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Civic Groups Call for NYPD to Retain Control of School Safety Officers, To Hold Rally Saturday

School safety agents Photo Credit: Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office 2014

May 7, 2021 By Michael Dorgan

A number of local leaders are holding a rally in Kew Gardens Saturday calling on the city not to transfer the control of school safety officers from the NYPD to the Dept. of Education.

The rally, called “Keep Safety Agents in Schools,” will take place outside Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd., on May 8 at 10:30 a.m.

The event is being organized by Donghui Zang — a candidate for city council District 29 — and the New York School Safety Coalition, which is comprised of parents and community leaders who support the presence of NYPD School Safety Agents (SSAs) in schools.

The New York chapter of the non-profit Chinese American Citizens Alliance is also listed as an organizer. Both groups have held similar rallies in Manhattan and the Bronx over the last few weeks.

Zang said that the city’s 5,000 SSAs keep public schools safe and they should be kept as a division of the NYPD.

The mayor said last year that the DOE would take control of the safety agents by June 2022. The DOE had run the Division of School Safety until the NYPD took it over in 1998 in an effort to overhaul the system.

However, Zang said that the move will backfire by making schools more vulnerable and putting students in harm’s way.

“It makes no sense as the agents are there to stop people who want to come on to campus and do bad things,” Zang said. “The agents are there to protect students and are part of the big school family like someone’s aunt or uncle.”

Zang said the rally is being held to remind people of the important work the NYPD does at schools to bolster security. For example, agents confiscate thousands of knives as well as other weapons every year, he argues, citing a New York Post study on NYPD data.

The DOE, Zang said, is not capable of properly overseeing school security whereas the NYPD has a proven track record of doing so.

Donghui Zang at a rally in Manhattan calling for SSAs to continue being part of the NYPD April (Photo provided by Donghui Zang)

“The DOE is responsible for education and it doesn’t do a good job of it. The DOE cannot be trusted to be in charge of the school security system,” Zang said.

Zang said that the organizers of the rally support the NYPD. He said that the important work SSA agents are doing in schools is being drowned out by those who are critical of law enforcement and are part of the “defund the police” movement.

He added that SSAs are not like regular police since they are unarmed.

The rally on Saturday, Zang said, comes weeks before local primary elections where many candidates have backed the transfer of school security from the NYPD to the DOE.

Zang, who is running for city council to represent Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill, said that it is imperative that the next city council and new mayor keep the NYPD in schools.

“We need common-sense candidates to be elected who will demand that the NYPD remains in our schools.”

A poster for the “Keep School Safety Agents in Schools” rally to be held Saturday. (Facebook)

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10 Comments

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Anonymous

omg! i don’t know how to react. someone supports and praises the police, and this guy doesn’t even look like a terrorist with a MAGA hat. I bet liberal minds are overheating right now… a minority candidate doesn’t fall under typical woke stereotypes?!

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Concerned Citizen

Good! Some High School’s here are ganglands…I remember how bad it was having LaGuardia Performing arts HS across the street from martin Luther king HS. They had to stagger dismissal times because the Martin Luther King HS kids would bully and harass the performing arts kids.

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Dee

As long as NYPD officers are stationed outside of a school via foot patrol or a patrol car i do not have a problem with this. Schools should also have security video that parents and officers can view in every hallway and classroom and staff a cellphone to call the officers if needed.

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Jill

Put more money into community based programs such as after school programs, free child care for the poor, sport programs, tutoring, free field trips, more programs honoring minority and lgbt based activities and celebrations, etc and schools will be safer and more fun. Reward students for good behavior! End suspensions and offer extra support to failing students. High school should also offer specialized degrees and paid internships.

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Darcel

I think money would be better spent on hiring more psychologists and social workers who are trained in dealing with diverse student populations. In addition we need to pay and train our teachers better. Including hiring more minority staff from NYC. Cops should be full aware of any unlawful incident and have a plan for any major incident but schools should not feel or look like prisons.

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Introduce children to the police state at a young age

We need to prepare them for the real authoritarian world

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Malik

Does anyone realize that 72% of people killed by police are non black. You would think that based on media attention it would be 0. Black people are much more likely to be killed by Black people than police. Let’s deal with that issue.

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Police should not be patrolling the streets

They should be in the cafeteria. Who’s gonna break up food fights otherwise?!

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