New York, N.Y. - We join our partners in the demand for more counselors, not cops and guns, in schools. Policies that increase investments in School Resource Officers (SROs) rather than holistic supports that work to identify and intervene in mental health crises, have a damaging impact on schools that often serve under-resourced communities, predominantly of color.
As students across the nation, New York State, and New York City participate in a day of action today, April 20th – the anniversary of Columbine and a national turning point in school safety – I wanted to address the current state of school climate and our youth's demand that we, as a society, do better.
Some might view this demonstration of free speech and assembly as different from the walk outs that were much more widely supported in March, one month after the Parkland shooting that left 17 dead. Today's day of action is a continuation of the same call from our youth. We recognize that whatever the manifested action, be it in-school service projects and days of action or organized student walk-outs, they must be heard and acted upon.
Following Parkland, the State Senate moved on a school safety package that we believe is counterproductive to the improvements we need to see to move away from a climate of fear and violence in schools and communities.
We support our coalition partners in the belief that "we can build and sustain safe and supportive school communities by focusing on providing school communities with the tools, resources, and community partnership necessary to help young people peacefully navigate conflict, build community, and create healthy and strong relationships. Proposals like the Judge Judith S. Kaye Safe and Supportive Schools Act (S.3036A-A.3873A), the Regents' Supportive Schools Program, and budget items that fund school-based supports, offer real solutions that build safe and supportive school environments."
Our youth are leading the charge in demanding that we no longer sit back as victims. CHCF supports their right to organize and their call to action.