Staten Island’s Community Education Council 31 will vote Monday evening on a proposal to place plainclothes armed guards in city schools, CBS reported.
The plan reportedly calls for 300 to 500 retired police officers to carry concealed weapons, and rotate through the city’s 1,750 public schools.
On the CEC 31 website, a letter from President Sam Pirozzolo states, “There is a lot of talk in the media about ‘guns in schools,’ and mistakenlymany of the reports say that CEC 31 is proposal placing armed guards in schools… Our proposals are not about placing guns in schools.”
Elsewhere in the letter, Pirozzolo writes, “Our CEC resolution is not about adding guns to schools; it is about common sense safety measures that will make our schools safer — like panic buttons and camera/buzzer systems — which we believe are important.”
However, the letter does make mention of using retired police officers as guards multiple times, and specifically as undercover guards: “What is less traumatic, teaching a 7-year-old child what ‘line of sight’ means and then telling them to hide in a closet — or for the child to pass by someone in their school who is dressed like a teacher and happens to be a retired police officer?”
Pirozzolo clarified to Metro that their proposal is three-part, and involves a panic button that will communicate a silent alarm directly to the police precinct, a video entrance system to identify all visitors, as well as a “roving patrol” of undercover security officers.
Signs indicating that a school may have armed security personnel will act as a deterrent, he argued.
“We need to stop these problems before a shooter gets into a school, or a gunman gets into a school, not teach our children how to hide,” he said.
The Council does not have the power to enforce policy, but they can make a recommendation to the larger city school board.
Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, told Metro the DOE is not considering the CEC’s proposal.
In a statement, Chancellor Dennis Walcott denounced the idea of armed guards in schools: “As the largest school district in the country, we know what works. The NRA is wrong. Putting an armed guard in every school building is not the answer.”
Pirozzolo said he is disappointed with the DOE’s response, and asked, “How do you say no to a conversation about the safety of our children?”