Today we find ourselves in the heartbreaking position of having to process, once again, the senseless and devastating murder of students and teachers. We have endured so much these last few years and our school communities have shown incredible resilience in the face of unprecedented challenges. What they should not have to worry about is the threat of gun violence in their own classrooms. No parent should have to worry about the safety of their child when they drop them off for school every morning. No teacher or principal should feel fear when the door of a classroom or school building opens throughout the day. No child should have to a light candle for lost friends and classmates.
In these times, it is important that we all pull together and do what our city does best: support one another. School staff members are willing and able to provide support and assistance. Remind your child that their school is a safe place and encourage them to discuss their feelings. Please do not hesitate to share your child’s concerns with school staff members so we can provide appropriate supports.
I want to reassure all members of our school community that we are focused on safety every day. The NYC Department of Education will continue to work closely with the New York Police Department and partner city agencies to provide support and information during major incidents that impact our school communities. All New York City public schools follow strict safety protocols designed to keep your children safe at all times, especially in the event of an emergency. You can find information about the protocols we follow to keep children safe on our website at schools.nyc.gov/school-life/safe-schools/emergency-readiness.
Please make sure your school has current emergency contact information for your family. In addition, you can register for Notify NYC (a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov) and create an NYC Schools Account (schoolsaccount.nyc) to ensure you receive up-to-date information on emergency events.
The health and safety of our students continues to be our highest priority and we are here to help you during this challenging time.
David C. Banks
Translated versions of this letter can be found on schools.nyc.gov/messagesforfamilies when available.