NEW YORK, NY (September 28, 2017) — Our schools should be safe and supportive environments where teachers can teach and students can learn. Yesterday’s tragic incident has led to many lives being forever changed and one life lost. Families, students and educators are in need of support and comfort as they began this long and difficult healing process. Too often responses to violent incidents in Black and Brown communities results in further trauma by treating children like criminals instead of surrounding them with positive supports. Doubling down on harsh discipline and criminalization of our youth is not the way to make our schools safer. Instead we need to provide the supports for students, teachers and schools which can prevent these situations from occurring by addressing issues before they become major problems.
Educators need the resources, trainings and tools to address situations before they escalate. According to the NYPD this situation had been brewing for two weeks. Classroom teachers need adequate training on identifying and preventing bullying. All schools need to have the resources to hire counselors and social workers to help support the social and emotional needs of students.
Anti-bullying and anti-bias training for educators should be a top priority in New York City and across the state. Our elected officials must act fast to prevent events like this in the future. Every classroom teacher and building leader needs to be trained in creating a positive school climate.