Sept. 7, 2022 – As schools welcome students back from summer, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office is launching new training sessions for superintendents on New York’s new gun laws that went into effect Sept. 1, particularly, Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), which school administrators and health practitioners, like school nurses and counselors, can apply for when they see students in crisis.

The first session will be held Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, with the Council of School Administrators (CSA) at Southern Westchester BOCES with superintendents representing southern Westchester schools. A second session with northern Westchester school superintendents is being planned. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health will also be present during these sessions.

“Schools are one of our most valuable partners in the fight against gun violence and the engagement of school administrators is a critical investment in the safety of our school communities,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah, who earlier this summer released a detailed Gun Safety Plan in the wake of the state legislature’s response to mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde followed by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning New York’s conceal carry law. “These trainings are part of my Gun Safety Plan in action, and I’m doing everything in my power, as DA, and as a mother to school-aged children, to ensure New York’s new gun laws are used as effectively as possible.”

A package of sweeping new gun legislation signed in June by Governor Kathy Hochul went into effect September 1 and includes gun-free zones and new age restrictions on semi-automatic weapons. The legislation also enhanced New York’s red flag laws. School officials are one of a few categories of people who can now apply for ERPOs—court orders that temporarily restrict individuals who pose an imminent risk to themselves or others from purchasing and possessing firearms.

“It’s important that as educators and administrators we understand our new role in having a direct impact on the safety of our students and we’re proud to partner with the DA's office so we can be equipped with the best tools,” said Dr. Jen Lamia, President of the Council of School Administrators (CSA) for Southern Westchester and Superintendent of Byram Hills Central School District.

“We're wholly committed to being central players in this timely dialogue with legal experts who can guide us on ensuring the utmost safety of our school communities,” said Dr. Eric Byrne, President of the Lower Hudson Council of School Administrators for Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties and Superintendent of Rye City School District.

Red flag law training with community stakeholders has been a cornerstone of DA Rocah’s agenda to keep Westchester County safe from gun violence. These trainings mark a continuation of a gun safety partnership between Westchester schools and the DA’s Office that began in 2021 with the launch of the Safe Storage Program, a countywide initiative with Moms Demand Action that provides valuable resources to families in every Westchester school district on New York’s gun laws and safe firearm storage practices.

“There is nothing more important to me than the continued safety and protection of our students in Westchester County,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “Schools should always be a safe haven – a place where our young people can go to learn, develop and better themselves. It is our responsibility in government to partner with educators, administrators and law enforcement to guarantee the utmost safety of our school communities. I thank DA Rocah for her attention to this important matter.”

Together with other county agencies, including the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health and the Department of Public Safety, the District Attorney’s Office will continue to expand training on New York’s gun safety laws to interested groups throughout the county.

DA Rocah’s detailed Gun Safety Plan was recapped in the office’s Gun Safety Community Forum in July. Watch a recording of the Gun Safety in Our Community Virtual Forum from July 18, 2022 on YouTube.

Read the presentation slides from the forum.