School Security Guard Slashed While Protecting Teacher

By Erika Hanson | Published

safety agent

New York City has seen an uptick in violence this year, and its public schools are facing the consequences. From last week’s appalling attack on a school security personnel by three parents, to this week’s tragic Brooklyn subway shooting that left kids and educators fearing for their lives during a shelter-in-place lockdown, the city has seen one too many violent incidents involving schools. Yet again this week, another public school was in peril as a safety agent and other educators at a Bronx elementary school were attacked.

The incident occurred Thursday morning inside P.S. 69 Journey Prep School early in the morning before students arrived. A 23-year-old male suspect entered the school to confront his ex-girlfriend, a guidance counselor at the elementary school. As things turned ugly, the school’s safety agent stepped in, in a heroic move to protect the guidance counselor, and ultimately was slashed by the perpetrator, according to reports from the New York Post

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The safety agent was slashed in the back of his left ear as the suspect attempted to assault the counselor. Another teacher was also involved, and he was similarly slashed at the top of his left arm. The guidance counselor also suffered a bump on the back of her head from the scuffle. Both the security member and counselor were taken to the Jacobi Medical Center for their injuries, and the suspect was taken into custody pending charges. 

New York City’s mayor, Eric Adams, spoke of the occurrence at an unrelated community event. Thanking the 57-year-old safety agent for his brave actions during his on-duty time at the school, Adams said, “It is unacceptable. Violence in our school will not be accepted, and I want to thank our school agents, safety agents all over the city.” Schools Chancellor David C. Banks also recognized the work of the guards, saying “Our incredible educators and School Safety Agents work every day to keep our children safe, and I am grateful for their steadfast dedication to our schools. We are offering supports to this school community.” But Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, took his gratitude even further, calling for an increase in school safety agents. “[The incident] highlights why we need to have a full contingent of school safety agents.”

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Mulgrew reported that New York City, which serves over 1 million students, is currently short nearly 2,000 positions inside schools. And the situation is dire, as the president of Teamsters Local 237, Gregory Floyd, previously made comments suggesting that plenty of schools in New York City only have one safety agent on hand. The situation is quite dismal for parents advocating for more safety inside schools, as even Mayor Adams contradicts himself. Earlier this year, the mayor’s budget proposal called for cutting positions for safety agents in schools.

To this point, Floyd also blasted Mayor Adams for his lack of attention to school safety. “The de-funders won today and a school safety agent was stabbed. We need more school safety agents now. What will it take? Death? Mayor Adams: hire more school agents now.” said the Teamsters president. Likewise, this isn’t a new issue that faces the Big Apple. Even at the beginning of the year, news outlets reported outcries from parents and educators begging city officials to increase security inside public schools. 

As it stands, school safety agents are categorized as peace officers under the New York Criminal Procedure Law. Under an initiative from the New York City Police Department School Safety Division formed in 1998, safety agents are designated under the control of the New York City Police department. They can make warrantless arrests, carry and use handcuffs, and use physical or even deadly force, when necessary.