Richards: Division of School Safety Should Return to DOE
City Council Member Donovan Richards (D-Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens), chair of the Public Safet Committee, along with City Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Education Committee, yesterday called for the division of school safety to be removed from the NYPD and returned to the DOE.
“Enough is enough. Incremental reforms to a system that does not want to be reformed are futile. We need nothing short of structural change. It is time for the Division of School Safety to be removed from the NYPD and returned to the DOE. Despite their outsized impact on a school’s climate and culture, School Safety Agents do not report to and are not accountable to principals,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement.
“At a time when students are experiencing more trauma than ever, we need to make sure that our approach to school safety is aligned to meet the holistic needs of children. School Safety Agents, most of whom are doing their best to keep kids safe within a broken system, are too-often called upon to intervene in behavioral crises because the vestiges of Zero Tolerance prioritize punitive interventions over social-emotional supports,” they added.
In 1998, Rudy Giuliani pushed through a transfer of the Division of School Safety from the DOE to the NYPD, making New York City the first big city in the country to rely on the police to provide school security.
BP Lee, ASPCA Partner to Deliver Pet Food to Queens Furry Friends
Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee yesterday announced a partnership with the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to donate pet food to 14 local non-profits and community-based organizations for distribution amongst Queens families in need of assistance feeding their four-legged loved ones.
The ASPCA’s generous donation of 2,520 combined bags of cat and dog food, totaling 66,900 pounds, aims to address the tide of food insecurity for families with pets — already one of the most commonly requested items at food pantries — due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pets are deeply loved in the Borough of Families, but for those struggling to make ends meet, providing for furry family members can be even more challenging,” said Lee. “Queens is deeply grateful to the ASPCA for this timely donation in our all-encompassing push to stem the tide of food insecurity.”
Across multiple days beginning Thursday, June 18, Lee and the ASPCA will facilitate the distribution of more than 1,250 bags each of donated cat and dog food across the following local organizations with operational food pantries, including:
· Commonpoint Queens — Sam Field Center in Little Neck
· Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc. in Corona
· First Baptist Church of Corona in Corona
· Harding Ford Vision, Inc. in Jamaica
· Hungry Monk Rescue Truck in Ridgewood
· Jamaica Community Partnership Program, a Sheltering Arms NY program, in Jamaica
· La Jornada in Flushing
· Latin American Intercultural Alliance in Richmond Hill
· New Greater Bethel Ministries in Queens Village
· NYCHA Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway
· Project Hope Charities, Inc. in Jamaica
· Queens Community House in Flushing and Forest Hills
· RIVER FUND in Richmond Hill
· Rock Safe Streets, a Sheltering Arms NY program, in Far Rockaway
· Voces Latinas in Jackson Heights
Both the donated bags cat and dog food come in two separate sizes — 15- and 31-pound bags for cats and 28- and 40-pound bags for dogs.
Dromm Lauds US Supreme Court’s Ruling Protecting Sexual Orientation and Transgender status
City Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) yesterday lauded the US Supreme Court’s Ruling that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from being fired because of their sexual orientation.
“History will remember this day as the day that the Supreme Court stood up for the fundamental protections enshrined in the Civil Rights Act,” said Dromm, chair of the Council’s LGBT Caucus. “Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed the letter and spirit of Title VII of the Act: that no one should be fired for simply being who they are. As one of the first openly-gay public school teachers in New York State, I remember the ever-present fear of being fired for being a member of the LGBTQ community. Because of this decision, those days have been relegated to the dustbin of history.
“This landmark ruling comes as a ray of light during a particularly challenging Pride month when many LGBTQ Americans are struggling with the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic racism in our criminal justice system. I celebrate this progress while recognizing that there is still much more work to do in order to achieve full equality for all LGBTQ people.”
Katz Adds Hate Crimes Bureau to DA Office
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz yesterday announced she is adding a Hate Crimes Bureau to her office.
“We are the ‘World’s Borough’ with the most diverse population of any county in the nation. Hate-mongers and those who hurt others based on their own prejudices have no place in Queens. This Bureau takes a multifaceted approach to stopping hate crimes by working collaboratively with others to combat bias, as well as developing meaningful programs to bring about positive change. The Bureau will, of course, vigorously prosecute anyone who hurts others based on their own prejudices and hate,” said Katz.
The DA’s Hate Crimes Bureau engages in extensive community outreach to foster positive ties between impacted communities and law enforcement. The goal is to also combat racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other hate-inspired bias crimes through education. The Bureau also crafts innovative sentencing programs to address and reform so they do not offend again. This specialized Bureau will also work closely with the DA’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force to achieve these objectives.
“This Bureau is one of the first in the nation dedicated exclusively to preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. It engages in extensive community outreach to foster positive ties between impacted communities and law enforcement. The goal is to also combat racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other hate-inspired bias crimes through education. The Bureau crafts innovative sentencing programs to address and reform so the offenders do not offend again,” said Katz.
Schumer, Gillibrand Co-Sponsor Bill on Helicopter Safety Equipment on Helicopters
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand co-sponsored the Helicopter Safety Act of 2020, a bill to require terrain awareness and warning systems, crash-resistant flight data, and voice recorders on all helicopters that carry six or more passengers.
“Despite tragic helicopter crashes across the country and here in New York—from FlyNYON to the crash last year on a Manhattan tower—the installation of chopper warning systems and crash-resistant flight data and voice recorders has remained an elusive, basic safety standard the federal government has failed to mandate. The bill we introduced would heed safety recommendations the NTSB has all but begged for and ones New Yorkers know are badly needed,” said Schumer.
“After the tragic 2018 East River helicopter crash, New Yorkers continue to demand safer regulations to prevent this from ever happening again,” said Gillibrand. “We owe it to the memories of these five people lost too soon to pass the Helicopter Safety Act of 2020. I proudly join my colleagues to get this bill done, especially given the high volume of helicopters operating in the NY metro area.”
Since 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued and re-issued recommendations urging this safety equipment be mandatory on helicopters. Yet, the FAA only requires certain helicopters, such as air ambulances, to carry it.
Velazquez to Host Virtual Event: What’s Next For New York
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Queens, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan) on Thursday will host a virtual and interactive event with her constituents called “What’s Next for New York: Addressing Police Violence and Reopening Our City Post-COVID-19.”
The event will allow constituents to interact with various experts on these timely topics.
“You’ll learn how to protect yourself and your families from coronavirus as our city reopens, plus get your questions answered. We will also have a discussion on police reform,” said Velazquez in the announcement.
The event is slated for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, June 18. To join the conversation via phone dial 855-962-0966 at that time. You may also register to be called here. If you prefer, you may stream the event online at https://velazquez.house.gov/live.