LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, many school districts have discussed training teachers and principals to fire weapons. However, One school in New Jersey is in a unique position to arm its principal.
Now, in Little Falls, Passaic Valley High School wants Principal Ray Rotella, a retired police officer, to carry his concealed weapon in school.
“As a principal you do have a responsibility to do whatever you can to keep your students and staff safe,” Rotella told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan on Wednesday.
A training video for handling active shooters in schools has the principal locking his doors, but Rotella said he would be out in the hallways if a scenario like that unfolded in his school.
“You look at some of the school shootings … the time is crucial. These happen very, very quickly,” Rotella said.
Some students and parents agree, arming Rotella would be a smart move.
“I guess I would feel protected because things have been bad lately,” student Brendan Kosch said.
“That’s a good idea for a principal to carry a weapon in school. Yes, I agree with that 100 percent,” parent Tommy Ficarra added.
However, others said they aren’t too sure about the proposal, which still has to be voted on by the Board of Education.
“It just seems … [I] don’t want more people carrying guns,” Annie Languasco said.
Some schools across the nation have trained teachers and principals to carry weapons inside schools, but Rotella said his situation is different in the sense that he was a police officer in town.
“You’ve been in these situations. It’s a little different than taking an educator and giving him some training and saying, ‘Okay, you are now qualified to carry a firearm with students,’” Rotella said.
“Every district has to decide what makes sense for them. This makes sense for us,” Passaic Valley High School Superintendent Victor Joganow said.
After a startling 60 school-related shootings across the nation since 1996, Joganow said what makes sense in his school is to use a former, decorated officer as line of defense.
Rotella was an officer for 25 years and has trained others to shoot weapons. He also has many awards, including the Medal of Honor. He started as a resource officer in the school and carried a weapon then.
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