This week a majority of the City Council, including openly-gay Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer, Corey Johnson, Carlos Menchaca and Ritchie Torres, supported a bill that would require the NYPD to provide school safety officers upon the demand of any private, public or charter school that requests them, including religious educational institutions that actively practice and teach discriminatory and anti-gay curriculum.
Currently, all schools - public, private, religious and charter - that face serious heightened threats are able to work with the NYPD to have a school safety officer placed in their institution, a prospect we strongly support as all New Yorkers deserve to feel safe in our city, irrespective of their beliefs.
However, the current legislation before the City Council would allow any school to file for a safety officer, regardless of a school's actual need for enhanced security: a serious financial burden for the public. By transferring the responsibility for standard staff salaries to the government, these institutions free up money for religious instruction that often is targeted against the LGBT community. This end run around the Establishment Clause of the Constitution is disgraceful.
In a Gay City News article, the Council Members stand by their decision citing these religious institutions are in need of safety officers for the student's protection – something that is already available for all schools. Safety officers are a right all students and schools already have access to, with or without this legislation. Instead, this bill would create a morbidly gross financial burden on New York City for an entitlement to safety officers irrespective of threat level – taking on the funding for basic school operations and draining money from our already underfunded public schools.
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City thanks openly-gay Council Members Danny Dromm and Rosie Mendez for continuing to stand with the LGBT community in opposition of the legislation.
We call on the all Council Members - particularly those that are allies of the LGBT community - to pull their names from this legislation immediately.
The bill providing city funding has not been voted on, but has vast support throughout the City Council. The Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC will work with Council Members Danny Dromm and Rosie Mendez to ensure this bill does not pass.