FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG DISCUSSES NEW SCHOOL SAFETY INITIATIVE
The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, April 16, 2006
"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
"Safety is simply essential to education. Without it, teachers can't teach and students can't learn. Every parent has the right to know that his or her child is safe during the school day-and no child should ever be afraid to attend school.
"That's why our Administration has worked so hard to increase school safety. And clearly, our efforts are paying off. So far this school year, we've decreased major crimes in all public schools by 9% compared to the same period a year ago, and we've driven violent crimes down by 11%.
"But we're not stopping there. Now we're focusing on stopping the flow of weapons into the city's high schools and middle schools. After the current public school spring break ends on April 24th, we'll begin making unannounced deployments of mobile scanners at high schools and middle schools throughout the city. These scanners are similar to the ones used to screen airline passengers, and also to the scanners that are already in place at about 20% of our secondary schools.
"This program is designed to be a deterrent throughout the school system-and we've got clear and compelling reasons for beginning it now. Because even as overall school safety has improved, we've also seen a 5% rise in the number of weapons confiscated at schools. We know scanners are effective both in increasing the number of weapons seized and also in stopping students from bringing weapons to schools in the first place. So by taking this step now, we're moving aggressively to solve a problem before it can become any more serious.
"That's similar to the philosophy behind the city's 28-month-old "Impact Schools" program. They're the high schools and middle schools where disorder by small handfuls of students has threatened to get out of hand. We've responded by aggressively stepping up enforcement and improving security management at those schools.
"There's no question that the Impact Schools program is a success. We began the current school year with 11 Impact Schools, and so far we've driven major crimes down 59% and violent crimes down 33% in those schools. In fact, four of the Impact Schools have made so much progress in improving safety that last week we announced that we are removing them from the program. At the same time, we've designated two other high schools as new Impact Schools. That will leave us with nine Impact Schools-the smallest number since we began the Impact Schools program in January 2004.
"Over the past four years, we've really begun to turn our schools around. That's demonstrated by the record-setting gains students have scored on standardized tests in reading, writing, and math, and also by the progress we've made in closing the classroom achievement gap among students of different races. Making the schools safer has been fundamental to all of these advances-and we're determined to continue to improve school safety for all our students.
"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."
Stu Loeser (212) 788-2958