Stepped-up safety patrols ordered in New York state through the end of school year

NEW YORK — There is anger and tears in New York in the wake of the Texas school shooting as officials have ordered stepped-up police patrols. Also, more has been learned about a stunning increase in the number of weapons found in city schools.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Wednesday, one event scheduled before Tuesday’s massacre took on a new sense of urgency.

Flags flew at half-staff in front of Mandalay Elementary School in the Long Island town of Wantagh as Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered state police to increase patrols at schools throughout the state for the rest of the school year out of an abundance of caution. She wants to protect students from gun violence.

“Just this morning, as we’re all reeling with the pain, I’m asking myself as governor … am I just supposed to just leave all the flags at half-mast? They’re still at half-mast from Buffalo,” Hochul said.

READ MOREIn response to Buffalo mass shooting, New York state cancels U.S. History and Government Regents exam

Mayor Eric Adams was at previously scheduled event to ask parents to check their kids’ backpacks for weapons, and said cops will augment school safety agents to prevent a potential copycat event following the Texas tragedy.

“The police commissioner is going to make sure we do what’s called ‘SA,’ special assignment, to drive by the schools, particularly while children are coming out,” Adams said.

City Schools Chancellor David Banks said he will meet with union leaders to consider other ideas to make schools safer.

“I’ll give you one example. I spoke with the head of the principals’ union today who suggested that we should lock our front doors once our students are in school,” Banks said.

READ MORENYC school safety union president calls for random weapons screening at all city public schools

Officials announced stepped-up safety actions even as they talked about the huge increase in weapons brought to school by students. They showed disturbing examples of high-caliber weapons brought to school in student backpacks and asked parents to get involved in checking their kids’ bags before they leave home.

The increase in weapons being found in schools is startling.

“Through the end of last week the NYPD school safety agents have recovered 5,546 dangerous instruments so far this year. That represents a 124-percent increase over the last pre-pandemic school year,” NYPD 1st Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban said.

The governor is also asking the Legislature to increase the legal age for buying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21.

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