A school board in New Jersey has taken an initial step toward allowing a principal, who is a retired police officer, to carry a handgun in school.
Raymond Rotella would be among the first school administrators in the state to have permission if the Passaic Valley Regional School Board gives final approval next month.
Rotella served 25 years with the Little Falls Police Department before he became principal of the high school three years ago.
The Record newspaper reports only one person spoke against the policy before Tuesday's 8-0 vote.
“Are we going to arrange for more guns after this?” said Kelly Predojevic of Woodland Park. “Will more guns mean less violence?”
Others spoke in favor, including students.
"It’s not like your giving a principal a weapon and saying, ‘Do this, do that,’ ” said Brandon Herrera, 16. “He knows how to use a weapon and I would feel a lot safer here.”
Rotella has said he would become an integral part of the school's security plan under the gun policy. He told the paper in an interview that most security plans would require the principal to lock himself in an office or classroom, but under this plan, he would be part of the security response.
“The recommended action is to hunker down, but that is not the recommended direction here as long as Mr. Rotella is on the job,” Superintendent Viktor Joganow said.
The schools chief said he and the school board are interested in having someone on campus who might be able to slow down a shooter.
Rotella has had a concealed weapons permit since retiring in 2007 as sergeant in charge of the department's firearms training unit, according to the Record.
If Rotella gets approval to be armed, the right would not be given to his successor when he leaves the job, according to the Record.
The school district took action in the wake of the Connecticut school killings.