"Staten Island Officials Decry School Safety Agent Cuts Amidst Rising Migrant Spending
Staten Island elected officials have voiced strong criticism against Mayor Eric Adams' administration for canceling a new class of 250 school safety agents. They argue that the substantial spending on the migrant crisis is now compromising essential services for the city's citizens. The borough's leaders are urging City Hall and the NYPD to reinstate the trained class of school safety agents to address youth violence and concerns about terrorism, particularly in the midst of the Hamas-Israel conflict in the Middle East.
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis expressed deep concern about the overall reduction in the NYPD, with fewer officers on the streets and a decrease in detectives solving crimes. Serious felony crimes in public schools have surged by 16%, with many violent incidents occurring around dismissal, precisely where safety agents patrol. Malliotakis criticized the mayor's decision to cut services while maintaining a hiring freeze, particularly when billions are spent on the "ridiculous" right to shelter policy for new arrivals.
Borough President Vito Fossella labeled the situation as 'I Told You So,' emphasizing the earlier warnings about the unsustainable costs of sheltering and caring for migrants. Fossella stressed the impact on hardworking people in Staten Island, questioning the prioritization of spending billions on the migrant crisis while neglecting local needs.
Assemblyman Michael Tannousis emphasized the inopportune timing of reducing school safety agents, citing the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, which heightens the city's vulnerability to potential terrorist threats. He underscored the importance of having an adequate number of safety agents to protect children in schools.
Currently, there are approximately 3,900 school safety agents in the city's public schools, reflecting a 25% decrease, or 1,200 fewer agents, compared to pre-pandemic levels."
"The demand for the reinstatement of the canceled class of school safety agent recruits finds support from Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, the union representing school safety agents. Highlighting the existing shortage of school safety agents, Floyd emphasizes the critical need to protect students, teachers, and safety personnel.
City Hall deferred comments to the NYPD, which expressed full confidence in the current agents to uphold security and ensure the safety of students, faculty, and visitors in New York City Public School buildings. Mayor Eric Adams, addressing the cancellation of the school safety agent class, termed it unfortunate and hinted at potential further service cuts, citing the financial strain linked to the migrant crisis.
Adams, in a late October interview, criticized the federal government's policy allowing people to come to the city without restrictions, staying at the taxpayers' expense. He voiced concerns about the unsustainable situation, particularly regarding asylum seekers lacking work authorization. Adams emphasized the need for a policy change to avert a looming crisis in the city, acknowledging the challenges faced by both New York City taxpayers and asylum seekers.
As the debate continues, the focus remains on balancing the city's fiscal responsibilities with the imperative to ensure the safety and security of its residents, including students and school staff."
"In conclusion, the debate surrounding the cancellation of a new class of school safety agent recruits in New York City underscores the delicate balance between fiscal responsibilities and ensuring the safety of students, teachers, and the community. As calls for reinstatement persist, Gregory Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, highlights the urgent need to address the existing shortage of school safety agents for the protection of all stakeholders.
While City Hall defers comments to the NYPD, expressing confidence in current agents, Mayor Eric Adams points to looming service cuts, attributing them in part to the financial strains associated with the ongoing migrant crisis. Adams emphasizes the need for a policy change to prevent a potential crisis, acknowledging the challenges faced by both the city's taxpayers and asylum seekers.
As the city navigates these complex issues, the central theme remains the quest for a solution that safeguards the well-being of its residents, even as it grapples with broader financial and policy challenges."