In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shooting, schools around New York are re-assessing their own security needs. State officials are also having them study whether a district-wide alert system is needed when an incident occurs.
And for the New York State United Teachers labor organization, help from hiring more school resource officers and mental health professionals is needed as well.
"We have been shouting from the roof top for years about having more school counselors, more mental health resources," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta in a Capital Tonight interview on Wednesday. "We need them to know how appreciated they are, how respected they are when they entered these fields."
New York lawmakers earlier this month approved a package of gun law changes that will require people to be licensed in order to possess a semiautomatic rifle and be at least 21 years old while also expanding the state's red flag law, meant to keep guns away from people deemed to be too dangerous.
On the federal level, Congress is poised to reach an agreement on a measure that would provide grants for states to enact red flag laws and provide more mental health counseling.
"We would love to see a little bit of everything, to make sure the schools are as safe as possible, but we're also dealing with the larger societal problems as a country," Pallotta said. "We supported the governor's gun regulation bill and I think that brings us to a better place."
But recruitment, like any field after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, has remained a challenge even as the funding for school districts has been boosted.
"There are plenty of open positions, that we know," Pallotta said. "Then there are shortages. There are shortages of teachers, of bus drivers and paraprofessionals. There's a need for more of them."