Bronx News
Sep 28, 2017

BRONX NEWS: De Blasio’s policies in question after Bronx school stabbing

An election-year school killing. There won’t be a moment of silence.

Wednesday’s tragic stabbing at Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Management will get immediate attention from Mayor de Blasio and his critics.

De Blasio will call for a full investigation, demanding time for police and education officials to get the facts. Who is the killer and was his relationship to the victims? Was bullying involved and, if so, who was bullied and who was the bully? Were prior disciplinary actions warranted and taken? Did the school or its private network, the Urban Assembly, see this coming? And if not, why not?!

Legitimate, edgier questions will be raised by others. Is the Education Department’s new policy of Restorative Justice, seeking to avoid suspensions and other punitive measures, too soft to address violence-prone students? Would metal detectors have prevented the incident? Is the NYPD-run school security system at fault?

Student stabbed to death with switchblade at Bronx school

Other good questions to ask de Blasio and the educators in charge: Were other students in the building, including kids as young as 6, vulnerable to the attack? Should the school, with known instructional and safety issues, be closed?

All these questions deserve clear answers. It is too soon to draw any direct connection between Wednesday’s attack and mayoral policies. Some critics will draw unfair conclusions based on this single, thankfully rare, incident. But the public, particularly parents, deserve an objective accounting for what clearly went terribly wrong on a hot September morning in the Bronx. These things don’t just happen and the mayor has too often postponed other pressing matters, wrapping procrastination in self-righteousness.

And that’s what makes de Blasio vulnerable. His leadership, his management, his policies are now more open to question than ever. There won’t be, there shouldn’t be, a moment of silence. Not at City Hall. Candid explanations are needed, and long before Election Day.

Bloomfield is an education professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center.

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De Blasio’s policies in question after Bronx school stabbing

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