BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Triggered by the Parkland school shooting, parents are now asking: How can our school communities feel safe?
On Tuesday, a brand new initiative was unveiled in the suburbs. As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, the goal is to identify students with anger and help them before violence occurs.
Since Parkland, students across the Tri-State Area have walked out and marched, with voices loud and strong.
“Students should not have to come into school every single day afraid of whether or not they are going home. But unfortunately, that is the place that we, in America, live in right now. We are trying to change that,” Syosset High School student Andrew Goldman said Tuesday.
“We are starting to change things. Last week, I was at the March for Our Lives, and that was just a call for greater action,” classmate Brooke Matalon added.
Many adults say they’re listening.
“Intervention and prevention is just as important as enforcement,” said Rev. Philip Elliott.
A task force of the best and the brightest, including Nassau County religious leaders, law enforcement, mental health experts and educators, will now be sharing information beginning in elementary schools, asking troubled students, “How are you doing? How can we help?”
“Oftentimes, the FBI talks to neighbors and associates of these active shooters and they say, ‘Oh, the person just snapped.’ But in essence, that didn’t happen. There were signs – signs that we missed all along the way,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Parents admit they are reluctant to reach out when there is trouble at home, and teachers say they’re afraid of invading privacy. Until now.
“New York State schools, starting this fall, will be teaching about mental health, so students better understand their role,” said Nassau County School Superintendent David Flatley.
That role involves speaking up when a classmate is acting out.
“Identify it, tackle it, help each other understand the issue of mental health,” Dr. Isma Chaudhry, of the Islamic Center of Long Island, said.
“Educating everyone on what to look for, because that is what is going to prevent this – over gun laws changing,” added Massapequa High School teacher Tomia Smith.