Palmesano, Assembly Minority Colleagues Reveal Findings from Task Force on School Safety & Security

Urges legislative action and improved communication between stakeholders regarding mental health

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) joined his Assembly Minority colleagues for a press conference on Thursday to reveal their legislative solutions to combat rising violence in schools. The solutions were put together by a Minority task force that toured the state for five public hearings and collected input from education professionals, mental health professionals, law enforcement, parents and members of the public. The full report can be viewed here. (

Highlights from the final report include:

  • Increasing Law Enforcement Presence in Schools
    • Create a statewide School Resource Officer (SRO) Training and Certification Program (similar to A.9432 of 2022; Byrnes).
    • Remove the salary limitation cap for retired police officers returning to public employment as SROs.
      • Expand “211 waiver” eligibility to also apply to SROs employed by police departments pursuant to a contract with a school district.
      • Create a statewide School Safety Agent program modeled after the existing NYC Program.
      • Address the negative impact “Raise the Age” has had on the safety and security of our schools.
      • Amend “Raise The Age” laws that have made it difficult to hold students accountable for their actions, pass A.3167; Reilly to permit an adolescent offender who possesses a loaded firearm to be tried in the Youth Part of Criminal Court.
  • Addressing Mental Health Issues in Schools
    • Ease qualification restrictions for those looking to receive social work degrees or certifications.
    • Provide financial incentives for mental health professionals, school psychologists and social workers who specialize in child development.
    • Explore utilizing youth apprenticeship programs and early career pathways to provide early exposure and credited training to those interested in these vital careers.
  • Open Communication Between Stakeholders
    • Amend section 9.45 of the Mental Hygiene Law to authorize emergency first responders to report to the County Director of Community Services that an individual has a serious mental health issue that necessitates immediate care/treatment in a hospital.
    • Require the state Education Department to create guidelines on how to receive proper consent for mental health providers to share sensitive but vital information with school officials regarding students’ potentially dangerous mental health within the scope of HIPPA and FERPA.
  • Innovative State Support for School Safety and Security
    • Create the New York State Division of School Safety and Security and task it with identifying existing school safety resources and creating a centralized clearinghouse of information.
    • Expand requirements of Statewide Emergency Response Plans.
  • Identifying Threats and Providing Support to At-Risk Students
    • Empower and encourage school districts to establish or utilize anonymous tip-line services so that students and community members can confidentially report threats concerning school safety and security.
    • Enact Jacobe’s Law (A.2231; Walsh), which requires school administrators to contact parents when bullying or harassment has occurred.
    • Enact A.4802 of 2022; Smith, which prohibits any elementary or secondary school from being used as a polling site for any election.
  • Hardening Infrastructure at Schools
    • Increase the threshold of projects eligible for funding from the Capital Outlay Program from $100,000 to $250,000.
    • Increase the enhanced Building Aid incentive for school safety projects from 10% to 15%.
“It is imperative that we work to improve communications between stakeholders to develop and implement best practices and strategies to make our schools safe. I implore Gov. Hochul and members of the Majority Conferences to meet with us on these proposals. The safety of our children, teachers, administrators and school personnel is of utmost importance,” said Palmesano. “This is a time for action, not a time for political posturing. These proposals were suggested and supported by various stakeholders from our forums around the state. We must better enforce the laws on the books and work together to pass common-sense legislation that will help combat this continued threat and help to better ensure the safety of our children, educators and staff.”