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New York City
August 2001

How would you assure safety and order in the schools? What changes need to be made in reporting or prevention?

HB: I [have] supported the placement of police in the schools. I feel that most principals did not want to let people know what was going on in their schools because it make him look bad. All kinds of crimes are labeled as “incidents” and suppressed. Police in the schools will see to it that criminal acts are appropriately reported.

MB: There will be zero tolerance for disruptive behavior and violence in the schools. No student has the right to deny others the right to learn. Schools must proactively establish a pro-learning disciplined environment. Where this attempt fails, we must instantly remove disruptive ones from the classroom and
put them elsewhere in the school build–

ing. We need special classrooms and monitors to attend to disruptive children while social workers and teachers attempt to alter their behavior. A new state law requires this, but provides limited funding. Finally, the NYPD must retain command and control of school safety officers. Students and police should get to know each other in non-adversarial ways through the school system.

FF: Our public school system does a fair job at keeping children safe, but it can do better. Turning school safety officers over to the NYPD is not enough. I believe that we need safe zones around our schools along with safe routes to school, both programs that I have supported in my 14 years as Bronx Borough President. We must engage our parents so that they are partners and a strong physical presence in their children’s schools. And I believe strongly that we need a restructured Office of Special Investigations that is accountable to the Mayor and to the BoE so that we can be assured that all crimes on school grounds are investigated thoroughly.

MG: As Mayor, my top priority will be reducing the number of students in each classroom. This is an essential step to ensure safety in schools because smaller classes allow teachers to know their students better so that they can recognize any behavioral problems or concerns. The development of smaller schools will also ensure the safety of our children. Over 200 new small schools have been created around the City, many by community-based organizations. The results are clear: 20 percent more students graduate in four years from these schools than at regular high schools. Smaller classes and smaller schools offer learning environ-ments that are both safer and more effective.

AH: We need a greater police presence in the schools. We need cameras in the schools with the worst records of violence—cameras in the hallways and stairwells, motion detectors and doorway locks and alarms.

PV: Teachers and school employees need to be held accountable for doing their part to protect our children while under their care. Currently, I am working with the Mayor, the BoE and the Police Department to enact a law that will require a teacher or other school employee who sees a crime occur or has reasonable cause to believe that a crime will occur, to report the incident to the police. We also need to work on preventing violence. Under my leadership, the Council has funded programs to help reduce violence, such as a conflict resolution program in schools and the Reduce Children’s Violence Program. We must also seek to prevent violence by teaching our children right from wrong. That is why I implemented the L.I.V.E. (Lessons in Values Education) program in public schools in the early 1990s that teaches students the core values of respect, responsibility, honesty, kindness, freedom and non-violence. If I am elected Mayor, I will expand this program to every classroom and make it a central tenet of my school reform.

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