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Shutterstock/LDprod
Shutterstock/LDprod

Councilmember Justin Brannan earlier this month introduced a bill that would improve the emergency notification system currently in place in city schools as part of a 10-bill package on improving school security.

“This is 2018, and parents and guardians should know what is happening at their child’s school in real-time,” said the pol, who stressed that, currently, if and when there is a serious incident in or near a school that requires a lock-down or large police response, parents must rely solely on social media, and other unconfirmed and oftentimes unfounded reports.

Brannan cited a recent incident in his district in which, in December 2017, reports of a student with a gun at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge ultimately turned out to be unfounded, and parents were not officially notified by the Department of Education (DOE) until 6 p.m. that evening.

“The DOE already has a system in place to share and update information internally. Parents should not need to turn to social media rumors when an incident occurs,” said the pol, whose bill would mandate the DOE to employ a real-time system, similar to an Amber Alert, in which notices would be sent directly to parents’ cell phones. “Let’s share the DOE information with parents so they can know exactly what is happening, as it happens.”

The new system, he added, would see the DOE work in tandem with the NYPD to make sure that information sent to parents is accurate and up-to-date.

“No one wants to imagine the unthinkable – and thankfully, New York State has some of the strongest gun laws in the country but God forbid something were to happen here, there needs to be a standard and secure way to get information to parents and guardians in a timely and trusted manner,” he told this paper. “That’s what this is about and what I’m trying to do.”

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