Buffalo, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Public Schools are trying to increase safety in the wake of recent violence, but parents are still making progress.
Sources close to the school district say metal detectors will soon be in every BPS building, but some parents wonder if the new technology will be enough to curb violence. Several parents said they were optimistic at the start of the school year. A week into the 2022-2023 school year, a student stabbed another student with a steak knife in the girls’ bathroom. The teenage suspect was arraigned without bail for assault.
Jeff Rinaldo, a partner at Vista Security Group, told News 4: “If you can stop students from bringing weapons into schools, you can make schools a safer environment where students don’t have to worry about their own safety and are more concerned about learning. interested.”
For some parents, school safety remains a top priority. Several addressed safety concerns at the September Board of Education meeting. They criticized that, despite the new policy requiring all high school students to receive a wand, the wand for students has been inconsistent. After the September incident, the district asked security guards to whip students from head to toe, including their feet. All student backpacks will also be checked. Some parents say this strategy is not enough.
“I don’t understand how feasible it is to do this every day. When do you want kids to go to their first class?” added District Parent Coordination Council (DPCC) chair Edward Speidel.
Rinaldo said the wall is not a long-term solution because of the potential for human error. New screening systems that allow students to pass sensors are a better option because they are more efficient and accurate, he said.
“There are new technologies out there that allow you to screen faster, more efficiently, and with a better rate of no false positives,” Rinaldo said.
The 2022-2025 BPS strategic plan says they put safety, security and health first. Part of their plan is to “buy and install state-of-the-art metal detectors in all BPS schools”.
“We’ve been told there’s a good chance that’s what we’re going to get. There’s no certainty yet. It’s going down, but I don’t see that happening for 90 days or so,” Speidel said.
Last year, the Buffalo Public Schools allocated more than $300,000 to the American Relief Program and Elementary and Middle School Emergency Relief for safety upgrades. From 2021 to 2024, $360,000 will be spent on security. Parent leaders say the district has the money to install new technology in every building.
“Funds are set aside for these people and we hold them accountable. Hopefully it will happen soon,” Speidel continued.
Rinaldo said the district has taken steps to improve safety, but he said new technology will make schools safer.
“The new superintendent is committed to making safety and security her top priority. She recognizes the fact that learning cannot happen unless students feel safe,” Rinaldo said.
Buffalo Public Schools declined to comment. At a previous Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams said school security kept her up at night, which remained her top priority.
Tara Lynch, a Buffalo native, joined the News 4 team in 2022 as a reporter. She previously worked for News 4’s sister station, WETM in Elmira, New York.You can follow Tara and Twitter And find more of her work here.