2006-10-13 / Community

Weiner: Bush Cuts Federal School Safety Funds

Representative Anthony Weiner recently released new data showing that the Bush Administration and GOP Congress this year gutted a key federal school safety program, which was created to protect kids from violence. Weiner blasted Hastert and Bush for their "shameful hypocrisy" and he called on the GOP to fully fund the "Cops in Schools" program in order to help prevent future tragedies.

Created in the wake of the Columbine tragedy, President Clinton spent more than $160 million each year on the "Cops in School" program. But in the last three years, under George W. Bush and the Republican Congress, the program was cut from $161 million to $5 million, and was zeroed out last year, for the first time since 1999.

According to law enforcement experts like former Police Commissioner Howard Safir, trained security professionals are the best deterrent to school violence. Yet, law enforcement agencies in New York City and across the United States are being deprived of vital federal resources to get the job done.

This year, the NYPD school safety unit has 375 officers to provide security at 1,200 New York City public schools. That's only one officer for every 3 schools, or one for every 3,000 students. And the number of school cops has remained relatively unchanged over the last couple of years as federal funding has declined and now dried up.

However, the continued threat of violence lingers. Last week, real and fake guns were seized from New York City students in three separate incidents. Coupled with the recent shootings in Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania, it's clear that more must be done to guard against tragedy here at home, Weiner says.

The Congressman, who represents the western portion of Rockaway, says that school cops are effective and the City must add to their ranks, according to Weiner, who recently called for correcting the GOP's misplaced priorities and fully funding the "Cops in Schools" program.

Under the proposal, the City would receive as much as $24 million over the next three years which it could use to hire as many as 154 new police officers for New York City's schools. Nationwide, state and local governments would be able to add about 2,000 more school officers to their ranks as well.

"Bush and Hastert say they want to protect kids, but their actions don't match their rhetoric," says Weiner. "This is shameful hypocrisy at its worst. Parents deserve better."

"President Bush says all of the right things but does nothing to implement the Cops in Schools Program," said former NYPD Captain Eric Adams.

"We need Bush to release the funds necessary to ensure that our children are adequately protected. Until Bush financially supports the Cops in School Program, anything he says about the importance of safeguarding our children means nothing. Protecting our youth requires more than just lip service. It requires financial support, Weiner added."

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