Last year, state Assembly members Rory Lancman (D−Fresh Meadows), Mark Weprin (D−Little Neck) and Catherine Nolan (D−Ridgewood), state Sens. Frank Padavan (R−Bellerose) and Martin Golden (R−Brooklyn) and former state Sen. Serphin Maltese sponsored the Public Schools Emergency Alert Act.
This bill would have required the city to establish an emergency alert notification system using a combination of text messages, e−mails and phone calls in order to provide staff, parents and the community notification and instruction in emergency situations occurring within public school buildings. This system would have been easy to implement insofar as the state Emergency Management Office already has this capacity and would allow the city to plug into its existing NY−Alert System.
Unfortunately, the last legislative session passed without this bill being enacted into law. This year, to his credit, Lancman is once again attempting to pass this important school and public safety legislation, and he should be applauded for his efforts.
This is good legislation. It is essential for the safety of our schools and children that parents, staff and the community receive timely notices and instructions in the event of an emergency in our public schools. Almost every SUNY and CUNY campus has or is implementing an emergency alert notification system. The state’s NY−Alert program has over 1 million enrollees and the city is already conducting a pilot community alert system.
As a parent and member of Community District Education Council 26, I am proud to join with many of my colleagues on our district’s council to encourage the prompt passage of this legislation. Please ask your local Assembly member or state senator to support this important legislation. This is common−sense legislation every parent should get behind.
Vincent J. Tabone
©2009 Community News Group
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