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Bloomberg: Armed Guards In Staten Island Schools Are A 'Terrible Idea'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A proposal on Staten Island to put retired police officers with guns in all borough schools received a blunt response from Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week.

As WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported, the Staten Island Community Education Council 31 issued the proposal, similar to the one proposed by the National Rifle Association to prevent an incident similar to the Newtown, Conn., massacre – which left 20 children and six adults dead.

WCBS 880's Marla Diamond Reports


Mayor Bloomberg pulled no punches in dismissing the plan.

"I think it's a terrible idea," Bloomberg said. "We don't need that in our school system. We have school safety officers. Where it is dangerous, the Police Department does already deploy police officers. We have random mangetometers."

Bloomberg added that the crime rate in New York City schools is very low.

"You're never going to make everybody safe all the time," he said. "We can't just have a police officer standing next to every single person."

Sam Pirozzolo, president of the Staten Island Community Education Council 31, said armed officers in schools would deter anyone who might commit an act of violence.

"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 the Newtown massacre. 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.

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.

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.

Do you think the plan to place armed retired police officers in Staten Island schools is a "terrible idea?" Leave your comments below...

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