For Immediate Release: August 14, 2008 Contact: Austin Shafran
Statement by Local 237 Teamsters President Gregory Floyd Re:
School Safety Act
New York, NY- The School Safety Act, recently introduced by the City Council is an unfair and unwarranted attack on thousands of the City’s most valuable and underappreciated public servants, School Safety Officers. Allowing the Civilian Complaint Review Board to probe school safety agents, when they already report to both the NYPD and the Department of Education places the agents in double jeopardy without any defense, something all citizens are supposed to be protected against which the Council seems to have forgotten.
Safety agents are there for the protection of the students and the public in general and have performed this duty with great success. But this legislation is nothing more than punishment for a job well done. Last week, Mayor Bloomberg praised school safety agents for their role in decreasing major and violent crimes in the City’s public school system. With a 10% drop in violent crimes, an 11% drop in felonies and no homicides or rapes in schools over the past year, the Mayor stated that students will be safer than ever when they head back to class this fall. Instead of being congratulated for reducing crime and keeping children safer then they have been in years, the Council chose to demoralize safety agents for doing a good job. Why should safety agents be denied due process and subjected to double jeopardy for upholding the law and protecting children?
70% of safety agents are women. 80% are minorities. The Council wants to treat them as police officers when it concerns disciplinary problems, but not when it comes to paying them. Subjecting safety officers to the increased scrutiny of police officers but refusing to pay them as police officers is a clear discrimination against women and minorities I had thought this City had moved past and hoped the Council was above.
School Safety Agents perform an invaluable civic service as defenders of student and public safety. Their jobs are not easy and never without risk, yet they’re among the unsung heroes of our education system. The School Safety Act does not make schools safer. It does not improve the ability of safety officers to do their job or guarantee the responsible treatment of children. It punishes safety agents who protect our schools for political purposes.