Playing With Fire: Lawmaker pushes for safer schools

While a new state report shows that the number of private schools in Rockland that are out of compliance with fire safety regulations has improved, one lawmakers say it's not good enough.

State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, who has been pushing for stricter fire safety in schools for several years, wants the state Department of Education to put more pressure on schools to make sure they are either safe or are shut down.

"We have to withhold their funding. We have to revoke their ability to operate. We just cannot allow this to go on until we have a catastrophe," he says.

Zebrowski says one obstacle is educators and legislators from other parts of the state who find it hard to believe that someone running a school would put children in danger. He claims they also don't seem to understand how the situation is worse in Rockland than in any other part of New York.

Zebrowski says he does not believe all the schools are unsafe, and his main concern is the repeat offenders.

Zebrowski says he fears that if the state doesn't take strong steps to force compliance, disaster may be inevitable. He adds that if the state Department of Education doesn't act, it will be up to the Legislature to shut down unsafe schools.

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