NEW YORK (NewsNation) — Educators across New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago are starting the new school year full of optimism for students and are determined to help keep students out of harm’s way outside the classroom, as violence continues to be a major problem.
For the 2022-2023 school year, New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) will have unarmed “violence interrupters” to help keep the peace among students inside the schools. But the school district is still struggling to find people to fill hundreds of empty school safety officer positions.
Concerns about student safety come as the city is still trying to get a handle on violence happening across the city. Rapes, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and the number of shooting victims are all trending higher than this same time last year. Many of the perpetrators and victims are teenagers.
“We’re going to open our school system. Our children are going to get a quality education. We will shift the resources where they’re needed,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
In Philadelphia, where gun violence has killed more than 300 people so far this year, the school district has hired community members to patrol along school routes to help keep kids safe. The district is also working with the Philadelphia Police Department to increase patrols and help widen school safety zones.
In Chicago, police are planning to use more active shooter drills to help keep the Chicago Public Schools’ 300,000 students safe and secure.
But outside is where the real worry lies, Chicago’s streets are among the most violent in the country. The biggest safety concern for officials is keeping guns out of schools.
In NYCPS safety officers seized more than 6,000 weapons last school year, including 24 guns.