Gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin told New York City parents he supports arming school safety agents while also outfitting them with bulletproof vests amidst an uptick in school crimes and weapons confiscations this year.
Zeldin made a surprise appearance and briefly took questions during a Zoom meeting Wednesday night sponsored by the NYC School Safety Coalition, where he made these comments.
“It’s somewhat controversial, but I believe they should be trained armed school resource officers,” Zeldin said. He added that having school safety agents equipped with protective vests is a no-brainer: “Absolutely 100%.” “That shouldn’t require legislation. That should be the way it is. It’s important they all have access to that, for sure,” he said.
This school year, 1,454 pepper sprays, knives, tasers, and other weapons have been recovered so far, compared to 790 at this point last year. Five of those weapons were firearms, compared to 21 in total by the end of last school year.
In response to Zeldin’s comment, Greg Floyd, President of Teamsters Local 237, which represents city school safety agents and has called for bulletproof vests for its officers for more than 10 years, said, “Bulletproof vests, we would accept. But arming 3,000, 4,000 school safety agents who weren’t hired to be armed is a question mark. None of them have been trained for firearms, or even hired for that purpose. It changes the job title, it changes the whole function.”
Floyd instead called for more personnel to manage safety in schools.