PHOTOS are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Good morning everyone. I can’t tell whether you’re so excited because the governor and the mayor are here, or because you’re almost done with school. You can be honest about it. Great to be here at the Clinton School. You have an incredible reputation, you know that. People know that you’re getting a first-rate education, the international baccalaureate that is a very big deal.
And you are going to be well-positioned to be launched into the whole new world based on the educational experience you had right here. So why don’t we take a second and give a round of applause to your great principal, our great leader, Jon Levin, who has been here for 11 years. Thank you.
There you go. There you go, Principal. And to all the great teachers and the administrators who make this happen. So I’m so glad to be with you here today. Also joined by my partner in government and New York’s Lieutenant Governor, Antonio Delgado. Please raise your hand. He used to play semi-pro basketball so if you got a basketball, he might just be looking for the hoops here.
Also, the Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams has done such an incredible job in such a short time and he is so focused on safety, as am I, whether it’s safety from gun violence or it’s safety in the streets. So when you’re walking or riding your bike to school, you don’t have to worry. So we are working together as true partners. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for all you do.
We also have leaders in our legislature because if you want to get a bill passed, you remember this. Yes, you do remember all this. When I was a kid, there was a show called Schoolhouse Rock. Are they still watching that? Those are actually really old reruns, but I am a bill, right? Sitting here on Capitol Hill. Believe it or not, that was one of the inspirations of why I wanted to go work on Capitol Hill. I love that show.
But we have our leaders in our state legislature who actually have to pass the bills, get them passed in both houses, the Assembly and the Senate. They come together and then what we do is what you’re going to witness here today. And very few people have seen this, an actual bill signing. So that’s what I’ll be doing right now, but it happened because we have Senator Andrew Gounardes in our state Senate for championing this in this Senate.
And you’re very own Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who’s an extraordinary leader as well. And then also what you have are what we call advocates. People who are so deeply passionate about a cause that even though they did not set out on their life’s journey to be focused on an issue, whether it’s public safety, gun safety, school safety, or street safety, something happens in their life and they feel compelled to act and they step forward sometimes having to set aside enormous pain in their own lives. And that’s what we have in Amy Cohen. And I want to thank her for being the Co-Founder of the Families for Safe Streets and leading the charge on so many initiatives. And Amy, I don’t know how we ever quantify how many lives have been saved, but I’m telling you, you have been instrumental in saving lives. So let’s give her a round of applause for all the work she does.
So, as I mentioned, the Mayor and I, and others are laser-focused on public safety, doing it on many fronts. And as I mentioned about gun violence, we are taking strong, bold action to protect people from scourge of gun violence. Something you read about, you hear about all too often, not just in our cities, but throughout this country.
But also I just want to mention something that happened yesterday as you’re students, you’re paying attention to all the news. You’re reading the papers. You’re seeing social media accounts of what happened in Washington. Two things happened in Washington yesterday, one very positive that for the first time in 30 years, the United States Senate on the leadership of majority leader, Chuck Schumer, our very own Senator from the State of New York, took a step that has not been done in decades and made some progress toward gun safety legislation.
That is a good thing. That is a very good thing that happened yesterday, but across the street in the Supreme Court of the United States of America, something very bad happened where they struck down a law that we had in place, not just in the last couple of weeks, that law’s been on the books for over 100 years, to say that the state has a right to decide whether or not you should be able to have a concealed carry permit.
What does that mean? You can have a legal permit to leave the gun in your home. If you meet background checks, which are very rigorous or certain people are eligible to be able to carry a gun with them. Now, if you’re a security guard, that’s okay. Someone has a threat against you. That’s probably okay.
But we didn’t think that people should have a right to walk around like the Wild West and carry guns. Right. That makes sense. And we put that forward. Not, I, it happened long before my grandparents were little kids. So this is how long it’s been on the books.
The Supreme Court yesterday, ignoring the fact that we have a nationwide gun violence epidemic, took away the state’s right to be able to make that determination on who should have the ability to hide a gun on them. That’s what it’s considered, hide a gun on you.
So good news. Bad news. Today is good news again. Today is good news again, today we’re going to make some real progress and do something that we believe is critically important.
And this is on top of something else we did to protect you in schools, not just on the streets, but in schools. We’re making our streets safer. Our community’s safer. We’re also making our schools safer.
Yesterday, I took a pen similar to this bill signing of something called Alyssa’s Law and students, you need to know who Alyssa is because I have in my office now the picture of her that her grandparents gave me yesterday. She lost her life during the schools shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas down in Florida, in a community called Parkland. What’s the connection to New York? Alyssa was a 14-year-old gunned down. She was born in Queens. She lived in Florida, but her grandparents live here.
And also in the audience, as we were doing this bill signing to enshrine a law that has her name, and I’ll explain what that is in a second, also was the parents of their teacher. Their teacher was Scott, a young man, maybe 30 years old, was a teacher at that school. He grew up on Long Island and moved to Florida.
So, there is a connection to this violence and what we’re trying to do here today, we signed it to require schools to consider the insulation of silent alarms. If something bad happens in a school, you want someone to notify law enforcement immediately. So that’s what we talked about. So we signed that yesterday. So we’re protecting people in our communities, our subways, our streets, our schools.
Is there another way to keep kids safe? And it is. And it is. And that’s what today is all about, how else we can keep you and the people living in these communities safe. We know there’s been real aggressive driving. I don’t know what’s happening, but people are just feeling out of control. Sometimes the traffic violence is out of hand and too many kids, students, as we see in this room, walking to school, you have a right to walk to school. It’s healthy. It’s good.
You ride your bike to school. It’s kind of fun. I ride my bike all the time. I always wear my helmet, but we’ve actually killed students walking to school because they weren’t protected. 24 in the last decade. And we have statistics that show that during the 8:00 AM hour when a lot of you are coming to school, when there are thousands of students going into their buildings, there are 57 percent more crashes and 25 percent more injuries in streets near schools .
So you can’t ignore the statistics. Something bad is happening out there. So then we say, well, what do we do? Kids shouldn’t risk getting hurt just going to school and traffic violence isn’t just confined to school hours. I mean, you come for after-school activities, evening activities. There are other people around the neighborhood. There’s a playground in the other schools, kids want to play. And at night when it’s hard to see. Weekends people drive a little more aggressively. So all this has actually gotten worse since COVID, I don’t want to blame COVID for everything, but there is a root cause where people have just changed their character. It seems people are less patient with others. They’re less kind. They’re less respectful. We can get back to the way don’t give up young people don’t give up. That was just a temporary setback, but parents also deserve the peace of mind to know that their children will be safe.
So Amy Cohen, I mentioned her, is a parent who knows. The sadness of this all too well, she lost her son Sammy back in 2013 when he was hit by a van in the neighborhood.
And she has channeled this grief, this horrible grief, and turned it into a force. A force to be reckoned with, a force for change. And she started something called Families for Safe Streets. And I want to say New York owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude, aiming at all your members. For all your members, please raise your hands. All of you’ve been the activists for such a long time. Thank you.
So what are we doing here today then? How do we take the energy behind the advocacy, the desire of the Mayor and I, and other elected officials, Councilmember Rivera, and others to make sure that we are safe as well as our partners in state government who I recognize? We are going to sign a bill that’ll authorize New York City’s school zone speed limit camera program.
Allow that to be operated all day, every day, 24 hours, 365 days a year. And this law will be in effect until 2025. And I want to thank the sponsors again, Senator Goundares, Assembymember Deborah Glick for their leadership in making this happen. We know if they work, we know they slow cars down, we know you like to pay attention and we want that to happen.
So we’re going to continue this protection all year round. That’s for you and your fellow students. That’s how you start protecting people in their schools, classrooms, but definitely on their way to school. So with that, I’d like to announce that we’re going to be signing this. I’d like to invite our mayor up. Our mayor, who’s doing an extraordinary job and you’ll hear from him how important your safety is to him.
So thank you everyone for being here today and witnessing a bill signing and to all the leaders, the elected officials, the advocates, the champions of making our streets safe right here in New York. Thank you very much. And with that Mayor Adams.