Staten Island Board Votes In Favor Of Plan To Put Retired Cops In Schools
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Monday night, a school council on Staten Island voted in favor of a proposal to place retired armed police officers in New York City schools.
The Staten Island Community Education Council voted 8-1 in favor of the plan to hire 300 to 500 retired cops, who would carry concealed weapons and serve as plainclothes security guards while rotating among the city’s 1,750 schools.
The proposal passed after two hours of comments, WCBS 880 reported.
The board has power to make a recommendation to the larger New York City Department of Education, but this particular vote was expected to fall on deaf ears. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott have the final say, and neither favors the plan.
The proposal was made in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“It’s another layer of defense,” said Community Education Council President Sam Pirozzolo. “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.”
CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported parents were discussing and debating the proposal at a public hearing Monday evening. Some parents did not like the idea at all.
“I don’t like the gun proposal,” one woman said. “I think there has to be a different way; a better way – anything besides guns. Anything could go wrong.”
But others agreed with a statement by National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre that “a bad guy with a gun” should be met with “a good guy with a gun.”
“My money is on the good guy, you know?” a woman said. “And if someone’s carrying a gun and if some other person comes in with a gun, it may be a small chance that he could take him down. But you know what? I’ll spend that money on that small chance.”
While the idea for armed guards in schools has gained some support on Staten Island, it will be nearly impossible to implement. Members, along with Mayor Bloomberg, have already blasted the proposal.
“We don’t need that in our school system,” Bloomberg said. “We have school safety officers where it is dangerous, the Police Department already deploys police officers.”
Schools Chancellor Walcott also gave the program a big thumb’s down on Monday.
“If they take a vote, it doesn’t mean anything, as far as I’m concerned. It’s not happening, plain and simple. I can’t be any clearer than that,” Walcott said.
He said they have systems and plans in place that address the safety of the schools and made it clear that the retired cops idea is a non-starter.
But the Staten Island council decided to take the vote anyway. The council said the plan also addresses other issues, such as mounting more buzzers in schools, and that the ultimate goal is to make the school safe.
Currently, school safety agents – part of the NYPD’s Schools Safety Division – are not armed. They staff schools and entrances to check photo ID and sign in any visitors. They also help monitor for safety.
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