Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Joins City Council Members to Announce Real Results Required By Local Law 36 (Avonte's Law)

Door alarms will be installed in school buildings citywide in 2015

Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr., joined by dozens of parent members of StudentsFirstNY, announced the results of the Department of Education’s first annual report required by Avonte’s Law.

Passed by the Council last July after extensive work by Councilman Cornegy along with parents and organizers from StudentsFirstNY, Avonte’s Law required the Department of Education (DOE) to conduct a system wide survey of school buildings to evaluate the need for additional safety equipment. That includes audible door alarms and DOE training on related safety protocols to the City Council in a formal report by May 30, 2015. 

In compliance with the law, DOE surveyed all school buildings and about 97% requested door alarms. Accordingly, door alarms are being installed in nearly all schools this year, adding a crucial layer of safety for students. In some cases, schools already had door alarms or occupied space in leased buildings that provided their own security.

“This report is evidence of the strong determination the City Council and the Department of Education share to ensure that the children parents entrust to schools’ care, return to them safe at each day’s end,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., the law’s lead sponsor. “As a parent of a child with special needs, I am grateful to have fulfilled a promise I made to the Oquendo & Talley-Jasper families to see this through.”

Alarm installations began this April and are being prioritized for elementary schools and District 75 schools, which serve students with special needs. The DOE estimates it will complete alarm installations at 50 buildings a week, with all door alarms fully installed by the end of calendar year 2015. When the project is complete, over 21,000 door alarms will have been installed in over 1,200 school buildings, serving nearly all of our 1.1 million students.

"As the mom of an autistic child, I know the fears that parents have when they leave their kids at school,” said StudentsFirstNY Senior Organizer Darlene Boston. “Thanks to Councilman Cornegy’s leadership, our call for action has been heeded and schools will have door alarms where they have long been needed. Finally, parents like me will have piece of mind that our schools are serious about keeping our children safe.”

The announcement followed April and May 2015 reports by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and the Special Commissioner of Investigation, respectively that called on the Department of Education to address safety concerns by completing door alarm installations as expeditiously as possible, among other steps.

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