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Thursday is the First Day of School and We’ve Almost Given Up

School is back in session, a DHS cop punched a 21-year-old asylum seeker, and more of what we're reading today.

A young girl in a backpack holds the hand of an older woman as they walk on a NYC sidewalk.

(Hell Gate)

It’s the first day of school today for New York City public students, and kids will be entering schools with fewer resources, enrichment programs, teachers, and support staff, thanks to an entirely avoidable fuck-up by the city council and Mayor Adams’s refusal to budge on restoring funding. Oh, and COVID mitigation? You can largely forget about that.

But hey, at least three-year-olds and four-year-olds will now be trained on what to do when someone with a gun comes into their school. Relatedly, the Adams administration somehow found the cash to hire 850 more cops—excuse me, “school safety agents”—to patrol our hallowed halls of learning. More, via the Daily News:

The new safety agents — uniformed NYPD members who don’t carry guns and are stationed full-time in schools — will come in shifts, with 200 new agents starting Thursday, followed by 150 beginning their four-month training in September, and two more classes of 250 each starting training in January and May 2023.

The number of safety agents shrank from more than 5,000 before the pandemic to its current estimated 3,100, according to DOE chief of safety Mark Rampersant. The drop is due to already high levels of attrition, additional departures after the vaccine mandate, and a hiring slowdown.

In a bit of good news on the school safety front, the Adams administration didn’t cut funding for restorative justice programs. Again, via the Daily News: 

The Education Department will maintain $21 million in funding this year for “restorative justice”—a disciplinary approach that encourages misbehaving students to repair any harm they’ve caused—following concerns from advocates and lawmakers that the DOE was planning to slash the program, Banks said.

Banks also touted a new, $9 million effort to bring trained violence interrupters—community workers who identify and seek to de-escalate conflicts before they erupt—into city schools. That initiative, funded by federal stimulus money, will reach 140 schools, said Banks, who promised to share additional details in the coming weeks.

As for the almost $500 million in school budget cuts, even if the cuts are reversed, UFT President Michael Mulgrew told Politico that “irreversible damage has already been done,” and that programs that were axed due to lack of funding would likely not be restored until next January.  

Here’s what else we’re reading:

    • We’ve all given up. I don’t even have the energy to make fun of the new MTA mask signage, I’m that depressed. 
    • The Adams administration is continuing to welcome asylum seekers with open arms. On Wednesday, a DHS police officer was suspended after he hit a homeless shelter resident, a 21-year-old Venezuelan asylum seeker named Meiver Martinez. According to Martinez, after the officer hit him, “about eight officers jumped on him, kicked him, punched him and used a stun gun on him three times.” He was then handcuffed and taken to a hospital. 
    • Pardon me?
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