Yonkers School Officials: We Will Be Vigilant

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Speaking at a candlelight vigil Sunday, Superintendent of Schools Bernard Pierorazio pledged Yonkers will do everything it can to ensure students safety. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

YONKERS, N.Y. – Yonkers school administrators are issuing assurances of safety this week in the wake of Friday’s tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Superintendent of Schools Bernard Pierorazio said Sunday the district was fully committed to the safety of its children and would continue to do everything in its power to make sure they are not in danger at school.

“We will continue to be vigilant.  We will continue to drill,” he said at a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. “We continue to work with our police department and our emergency agencies. We will continue to strive to keep our children, your children, safe.”

Yonkers Public School students returned to the classroom Monday for the first time since Friday’s tragic shooting in Newtown, Conn. On the district website, school administrators posted tips for parents on how to talk to their children about the shooting and ways to assist children in the aftermath of a tragedy.

In addition, a Yonkers police spokesperson said Monday the department was "giving our schools special attention."

Police Commissioner Charles Gardner has also been in contact with Pierorazio to share any concerns, the police department said. 

Pierorazio pledged to continue the shared effort and work with parents to ensure the safety of Yonkers children.

“You have my commitment on that as the leader of the 26,000 children and 4,000 employees,” he said. “We will work hand in hand side-by-side. We will look for your help. We will look for your assistance and we will commit that we will keep our schools safe.”

Speaking at the candlelight vigil, the superintendent asked those gathered not to forget the stories of heroism that arose from the tragic events. Stories like that of teacher Victoria Soto and Principal Dawn Hochsprung, both of whom died while trying to protect their students.

Pierorazio said he is confident Yonkers teachers would display the same courage.

“I assure you, every one of you, that heroism will be repeated if needed, god forbid, because our teachers and our administrators are committed to the safety of our children in this district,” he said.

Board of Education Trustee Nydia Perez echoed the sentiments.

“The heroism and instincts of protection is one that I have found in our community,” she said.

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