NEW YORK — — A new set of school safety guidelines for kindergarteners in New York are drawing criticism for their call for teachers to be more vigilant and less likely to pull students into classrooms.
The rules, which were released by the state Department of Education Tuesday, call for principals to teach “safety first” when addressing safety concerns and to work to “immediately stop any child from being in a physical altercation with another student or teacher.”
The rules also call for students to be allowed to speak and make mistakes in class, even if they are “not able to remember” the reasons for it.
The new guidelines have drawn criticism from parents, who say they encourage kids to be “selfish” and push their boundaries.
“Teachers have a moral responsibility to teach kids how to behave and be safe in schools, which is something that I think has been overlooked in the last few years,” said Sara Krawchuk, a mother of four preschoolers.
But critics say the rules go too far and that the guidelines are not about keeping kids safe but rather promoting a culture of fear.
“It’s not really about keeping students safe.
They’re supposed to be protecting themselves and their children.
That’s what we need,” said parent Barbara Krawchuck.
“We need more parental involvement in the education of our children.
We need teachers to make sure that their students are safe,” Krawuch said.
New York Gov.
Andrew Cuomo released the new guidelines Tuesday afternoon, after weeks of public and private pressure for more action on bullying.
New York State Department of Labor and Workforce Development spokeswoman Elizabeth Smith said the new rules will be available for students through mid-March.
The department is working with the New York State Association of School Administrators to develop an additional curriculum for all New York City public schools.
“We are committed to ensuring that the school climate is safe for all students, and we will ensure that any changes to the current curriculum that take place through mid March are implemented and enforced,” Smith said.
Students and their parents have already voiced concerns that the rules will discourage kids from learning.
“This is a new level of school management.
I’m not sure that it’s fair to ask parents to make the same choices,” said Katie Hennig, a parent of two elementary school students.