PATERSON — Citing cuts in school security staff amid a rash of gun violence in the city, public school teachers here are calling for back-to-school night to be moved to earlier in the afternoon.

Members of the Paterson Education Association have sent a letter to superintendent Dr. Donnie W. Evans requesting to move the event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The request follows shootings "on or near school property putting the life of students, staff and parents."

At least 23 people have been injured in nearly two dozen reported shootings in the last four weeks in this city. Last year, the city experienced 19 homicides, 142 assaults involving a gun and 243 robberies at gunpoint.

Back-to-school nights are currently planned for Sept. 20, 27 and 27.

"I am a professional educator, and I am still committed to meeting with parents on Back to School Night," their letter reads. "However, it is imperative for all students, parents and employees of our district to enjoy the same sense of security that you and your senior administration enjoy at the Paterson Board Office."

The letter said that teachers would be willing to meet with parents at the district office on Delaware Avenue on their scheduled date in the afternoon.

Eastside High School moved their first game of the season from Paterson to Clifton because gun shots were heard during a practice.

According to, the district cut the number of security officers in the school from 274 to 187 for the new school year over budget concerns. Evans wants to add 11 officers back to the staff.

Evans did not return a message seeking comment about the union's request.

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