NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the push for increased school safety in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, some parents on Staten Island are pushing for guns in school.
It’s all part of a proposal that calls for the weapons to be held by retired city cops, but as CBS 2′s Sean Hennessey reported Thursday, not everyone is convinced it’s the way to go.
Some New York City students may soon be getting a lesson in school safety few ever would have imagined.
Sam Pirozzolo is the president of Staten Island Community Education Council 31, the school board-like entity that wants to protect students — with guns.
“It’s another layer of defense,” Pirozzolo said. “We’re looking to let the bad guys know, if you choose a school on Staten Island in New York City, you may have resistance. We’re not a soft target.”
The proposal calls for retired police officers, armed with a hidden handgun, to rove from school to school.
“These are officers that are trained. They’ve carried firearms for 20-25 years,” said Mike Reilly, a retired NYPD lieutenant and board member on CEC 4.
Reilly said the idea quickly came into form after a gunman walked into the Newtown, Conn., school earlier this month and killed 26 students and teachers. And he said the hidden handgun is a plus.
“By having an NYPD retiree with a concealed firearm dressed as possible staff or administration, you’re now not putting the kids in fear or putting the staff in fear. There’s no … you don’t feel like you’re in a police state,” Reilly said.
While some parents are against the idea, others said when you consider the Connecticut tragedy, the risk is worth it.
“Guns and people near my children aren’t a good combination,” one New York City parent and teacher said.
“What If the target was missed? What if there was a child in harm’s way?” added parent Deena Coffee.
“If there was any possible way to avoid something like that happening, that would have been it,” parent Matthew Dennis said, referring to the concealed weapon proposal.
“I think it’s a good idea because the kids will feel protected,” Elizabeth Velez added.
But the city’s Department of Education is not considering the idea, saying the schools are the safest they’ve been in a decade. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott’s office released a statement that read in part: “We know what works. Putting an armed guard in every school building is not the answer.”
But Staten Island’s board president is asking if students are really safe.
“Are they safe from a terrorist attack? Are they safe from a madman with a gun?” Pirozzolo said.
As we’ve already seen, the answer is no.
The Staten Island board votes on Jan. 7. Any proposal that is passed would have to be approved by the city DOE, but given the department’s statements on the topic, approval seems unlikely.
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