NEW YORK (WABC) – The commission just approved a plan to improve safety in New York City schools, which officials say is a priority.

New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks has asked members of the city’s education policy panel to sign off on nearly $43 million to pay for new system-wide remote door locking systems and cameras.

The schools are currently on lockdown and an unarmed school security agent is on duty.

“I don’t sleep at night when I watch these national TV shows about people coming into our schools and shooting up schools, this was an attempt to figure it out,” Banks said.

The commission voted to award the contract to Long Island-based Symbrant Technologies.

It will cost $42.6 million in the first year, but could end up costing taxpayers $78 million.

A majority of the commission, appointed by Mayor Eric Adams, voted in favor of it.

Some other members wanted to have a discussion to learn more about this. They lost.

“But I’m not saying that’s the answer, and I’m not saying it’s not, I’m saying where is the interaction and the discussion? Where is the data? Where is the information?’ said PEP member Sherry Gibson.

“I really think we need more information, we’re talking about almost $80 million in public funds between the Department of Energy and the mayor’s appropriation, and I think we need to be very serious with our money,” said PEP member Anthony Giordano .

But does locking the front door really protect children? Eyewitness News asked an independent expert on school safety.

“We don’t want a security theater where we put all the bells and whistles that people can point to and say, ‘Look, we’ve made your kids safer,’ but it’s just an emotional security blanket,” Ken Trump said. . “Focus on your people. If security isn’t working, it’s a human factor.”

Banks spoke more about the plan last fall.

“We’re looking at the front doors themselves. Each of our front doors is now manned by a school security agent, and we’re looking to strengthen that even more. For months now, we’ve been exploring different options that would allow us to even actually lock the front doors. And when locked front door, we also have to link that to the camera system,” Banks said.

​​​​​​While there is concern about the $43 million price tag, it is a relative drop in the bucket considering the Department of Energy’s budget is about $38 billion. That’s more than some states.

The Department of Education released the following statement:

“The safety and well-being of our students is at the heart of everything we do. The proposed system will add an extra layer of security to ensure the safety of our students. Currently, each of our public schools keeps all doors locked and armed except for the front doors, which are staffed by agents NYPD School Safety.”

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