After school safety agents recovered five guns from students last week, the city will increase the use of unannounced metal detector screenings at schools around the city.
“We know there's some schools where there's been some real issues lately, and we need to make sure we're adding extra protection, to make sure there's never violence, never at any instant, or a child is harmed,” de Blasio said at his daily press briefing.
The city has permanent metal detectors at some schools, and uses roving metal detectors to randomly screen at others. Last week, random scanning turned up a gun that was being carried by a 15-year-old boy at Mott Haven High School in the Bronx. The same week, an unloaded revolver was taken from an 18-year-old at the Stevenson Campus in the Bronx, which has full-time metal detector scanning. In at least one of the gun incidents last week, the weapon was confiscated after being spotted in a student’s waistband inside the school building.
“Unannounced scanning as a tool, it's been very successful,” de Blasio said, using the DOE’s terminology for the unannounced use of the metal detectors. “We'll be doing that at some schools where it would be particularly helpful.”
The city will also have some neighborhood coordination officers and youth coordination officers from the NYPD present at certain schools during arrival and dismissal.
Susan Wagner High School, where video of a fight went viral last week, was one school where unannounced screening was in place Monday morning. The metal detector scanning led to long lines and delays for students getting into the Staten Island high school.
City officials tied the uptick in students carrying guns to broader problems with guns citywide.
“It’s something that I wish was not happening, but it is. Unfortunately, we do see too often a lot of our youth carrying guns, but the last thing we need to see is somebody entering a school site with a firearm, and that’s why it’s so important that we have our school safety agents, our metal detectors, in the appropriate places doing unannounced scanning,” NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
There had been some concern about the impact the city’s vaccine mandate would have on safety in schools, with NYPD school safety agents having lower vaccine rates than other school-based positions. But in the weeks since the school vaccine mandate went into effect, the number of school safety agents who have been vaccinated has now grown to 92%, de Blasio said.