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Security & Safety @HSW

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Many students were given detention last week during the administration’s crackdown on the wearing of student ID badges, which are required and should be “visible” at all times as of January 7. In order to further improve security, the district has been implementing new measures and practicing established procedures. This move is being mirrored by our state government as Governor Cuomo looks to move forward with new legislation as part of his “Justice Agenda.”
On Thursday, January 10, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, visited with students, staff, and administrators at the High School East auditorium. There she discussed Governor Cuomo’s new “Justice Agenda,” which includes strict gun reform and gun-related legislation. Accompanying Lieutenant Governor Hochul, was Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of the hero teacher and High School East graduate, Scott Beigel. Scott was tragically murdered during the Parkland shooting while trying to save students and staff.
Her motherly account of life after Parkland changed the vibe and tone of the room for the rest of the proceedings. It was a rare opportunity for students and elected officials alike, to hear from someone so closely associated with the issue of gun violence. Linda shared that it had been 330 days since her son was murdered and how she spent the holidays without him. She used her emotion-filled speech and passionate legislative mission to reinforce the Governor’s legislative agenda regarding gun control. Governor Cuomo hopes to move his legislation forward with the newly elected Democratic majority in the New York State government in Albany.
In the past, Governor Cuomo advocated for the passage of the Red Flag Law, a law that allows for guns to be temporarily removed from people who pose a danger to themselves or others. However, the law was never passed. Now, with the newfound Democratic majority, the governor’s officeand staff are confident that this time will be different.
This law “is a gun violence prevention law that permits police and family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves,” said Town of Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson on his Instagram. Besides the Red Flag Law, other gun control measures were discussed, such as the ban of bump stocks and the extension of a ten-day waiting period to purchase a gun.
Besides Council Cuthbertson, other local politicians were also in the audience, such as Legislator Susan Berland, Councilwoman Cergol, Assemblyman Stern, County Executive Bellone, Supervisor Lupinacci, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer Duwayne Gregory, Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, NYS Senator Gaughran, and many others. These politicians spoke with and are in a joint effort to ensure that what is passed in Albany is effectively implemented. Government efficiency on a local level is something seen as a top priority for the politicians that were in attendance.
Sophia Vespoli, a PTSA Legislation Committee member commented, “it was an interesting experience. I’ve never attended an event like this before, and it helped me get a better understanding of some of the viewpoints from an opposing side. This event has inspired me to attend more events like this in the future.”
A High School East PTSA Legislation Committee student Sarah Abrams said: “it was very empowering to hear about the impact of gun violence on New York State.”
“The visit with the Lieutenant Governor was a positive opportunity for the students and community. It was an experience the students will remember. School safety is very important, and wearing IDs is an important measure to keep our school safe. We did a lock down drill this week and will continue to do emergency procedures which are in place for everyone’s benefit,” explained High School West Principal Dr. Catapano.
“It was fascinating hearing Lieutenant Hochul speak. She is definitely someone I see as a role model now and it’s nice to know someone with my priorities in mind is in a position of power,” said Peyton Hall, another PTSA Legislation Committee member from HSW.
The event was originally intended to host Governor Cuomo himself, but due to an unfortunate last minute schedule change, he could not be in attendance. He was missed, however, the room gained valuable information and the students had unparalleled access and exposure to local and state politics.
Half Hollow Hills students are the future, and with exposure and access to local politics civic involvement can be nurtured and evolve into what the future needs. Lieutenant Governor Hochul expressed the importance of voting and being politically aware. She believes the movement for gun control to be our defining movement. Through voting and being politically aware, Hochul expressed her confidence in our voices improving the future.