Mayor Bill de Blasio has dismissed proposals to put more armed guards in schools as impractical. But his constituents appear to disagree: They say more people who work in New York City schools should be armed.
Fifty-six percent of city voters who responded to a new Quinnipiac University poll said “police officers or armed security officers” should be stationed in every school.
And when given a choice between stationing armed and unarmed officers in city schools, voters in every borough except Manhattan preferred armed officers.
School safety agents, who are New York Police Department employees but do not carry guns, are currently stationed in every school.
The poll question aimed to measure local response to a national debate about school safety that is playing out in the wake of February’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. In some places, lawmakers want to allow teachers to carry guns, but that idea hasn’t gained steam in New York, which has relatively strict gun-control laws and where Democratic lawmakers are pushing for more.
But the approach has some adherents. Senate Republicans recently presented a package of school safety measures, including one that would require a police officer positioned in every New York City school during the school day. As budget negotiations near an end, the fate of that proposal is uncertain, and some have suggested it is unlikely.
Citing contested state data that suggests city schools have become more dangerous, critics of the de Blasio administration have accused the mayor of making schools less safe. A high-profile killing inside a Bronx school in September heightened that perception.
But city data show that schools have actually become more safe, a trend that de Blasio has eagerly cited at press conferences and in interviews.
Most voters — 53 percent — said they believe the city’s schools are safe, according to the poll, but the Bronx is an outlier. Forty-six percent of Bronx voters said schools are unsafe, the highest of any borough.