[ voices ]

5 Answers

5 Answers
What can schools, communities and policymakers do to improve safety for students?
Carolyn Scott


Carolyn Scott, president, East Syracuse-Minoa United Teachers

“I would ask the administrators to communicate more. When something happens with a student, they don’t always feel it necessary to tell us. As mandated reporters, we need to go and raise a red flag if we see something concerning, talk to the student and report it to the necessary folks. But when something happens to students, that doesn’t always come back to us.”

Sarah Borowiec


Sarah Borowiec, Teachers Association of Cheektowaga-Sloan

“There are shortages everywhere without enough health professionals working in our buildings and helping our students. I think there are way more students who need help than can be offered right now with the staffing that we have, and I think there is a shortage of professionals even available to be hired.”

Esther Hernandez-Kramer


Esther Hernandez-Kramer, Farmingdale Federation of Teachers

“I would like common-sense gun reform passed, and I think that it’s going to take a coalition of groups to get that passed … It doesn’t mean we’re coming after guns. It means that we just need guns to be regulated in a safe manner, much like alcohol, much like cars, much like other issues in America where we’ve had success.”

Alyson Tina


Alyson Tina, president, Ardsley Congress of Teachers

“We spend a lot of time talking about intruders and setting up this single-entry or having our lock-down drills. Statistically, my understanding is that the people who commit violence are usually already in the building. I’m personally less concerned about intruders than I am about making sure that we’re taking care of the people already in the building, and that’s through our mental health programs.”

Michael Silvestri


Michael Silvestri, president, Schenectady Federation of Teachers

“When students are nervous and scared, they are not ready to learn, and you have to address that. You put aside what you were going to teach that day and, to the best of your ability, you make sure they feel safe in the room, and they feel safe in the school. We should not be having to do that, because they should feel safe. We are losing the ability to teach them what they need to learn and what they need to get out of school because we have to deal with the fact that they live in a world where they don’t feel safe coming to school.”

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