Are New York City’s pre-kindergarten centers safe?

Sakkas Cahn & Weiss

Parents of an estimated 70,000 New York City four year olds are anxiously awaiting the start of the city’s universal pre-kindergarten program next month. Under the program, four-year-old children from across the city are eligible to attend free, all-day pre-kindergarten programs at one of the city’s 1,150 pre-K centers.

While all around New York City’s pre-kindergarten program is a positive for kids and provides participants with “stronger math and reading skills,” questions and concerns remain about the safety of some pre-K sites.

Young children are notoriously curious and often lack the knowledge and reasoning skills to protect against suffering harm and injury when faced with hazardous and dangerous conditions. It’s imperative, therefore, that all pre-K centers are inspected and deemed free of possible defects, dangers and hazards.

A recent review of the Department of Building’s website revealed alarming details about several outstanding health and safety violations at several pre-K centers. These violations ranged from the presence of pests and other potentially hazardous conditions to failures to perform background checks on teachers and other workers with whom young children may have contact.

While an article in the New York Press detailed that, as of Aug. 19, at least eight serious health hazard violations remained open at six different pre-K locations; a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio’s office insisted that all outstanding violations had been remediated and closed.

For any parent, the health and safety of one’s child is paramount. It’s crucial, therefore, that New York City’s pre-K, elementary and secondary schools are safe and hazard-free. Parents who have concerns about the safety of a child’s school or who have had a child suffer injuries or harm due to unsafe school conditions may choose to consult with an attorney.

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