As children in New York head back to in-person schooling, parents may primarily be concerned that their children might fall ill. However, one thing they may not give much thought to is the safety of the state’s school buildings. And, according to a recent state audit, many of these buildings are hazardous and unsafe, especially for children with special needs.
Safety issues at schools
The audit found numerous safety issues in New York schools. Many schools had peeling paint. Door alarms were not functioning. Playground pavement was cracked. Some schools did not have enough EpiPens. Three schools were not equipped with window guards. Some schools had inaccessible water fountains and some schools had broken urinals. Some schools had missing and/or broken ceiling tiles. Electrical wires were exposed. Furniture and door hinges were broken. Radiators were uncovered. Ultimately, the audit found that the New York City Department of Education is not meeting the safety and health needs of students, especially special needs students.
The Department of Education’s response
The Department of Education’s response to these findings is troubling. According to the DOE, these deficiencies were repaired. The DOE also disputes many of the audit’s findings, saying the issue is “overblown.” The DOE stated it will continue investing in resources, accessibility and support for students and staff.
Learn more about education law
This audit may be troubling news to many parents, especially parents of special needs students. It is important that New York schools are safe for students and staff. Those who have concerns about their child’s school or other education issues may find our firm’s website to be a useful resource.