State Comptroller Audits School Safety Measures

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has begun audits of the state Education Department and the New York City Department of Education to determine if they are doing enough to ensure schools have adequate and up-to-date safety plans in the event of a school shooting or major emergency.

“The epidemic of deadly school shootings in the past few years and the terror wrought in our children’s classrooms is horrifying. Sadly, every school district in New York and across the country has to plan for the unthinkable,” DiNapoli said. “My auditors are going to examine if the laws and programs New York has in place to keep our children safe in schools are being followed. We need to do everything we can to prevent senseless tragedies.”

The audits announced today will examine the state Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act that was signed into law in 2000 to promote a safer and more effective learning environment in New York’s schools. Part of the act requires schools to implement comprehensive safety plans, which include policies and procedures covering such topics as safe evacuation, communication in emergencies, emergency responder access to building plans and school violence prevention training. DiNapoli will also be auditing how several school districts across the state have implemented the SAVE Act.

If schools fail to comply with the SAVE Act and do not develop, establish and update school safety plans, they could experience miscommunication, see more injuries and violence and prolong emergencies. Failing to follow this regulation could also hinder local law enforcement by not centralizing key information about a school, which could help to achieve a resolution in a dangerous situation.