Even after Saratoga Springs school board vote, arming security debate continues

May 22, 2019 06:43 PM

SARATOGA SPRINGS - It went on for nearly 40 years. Security personnel who were retired or active duty police officers carried a gun while working at the school. However, that changed last fall.

The school board, citing liability issues, voted by a count of 5 to 4 to have security keep their guns at home.


The news didn't sit well with some who couldn't figure out why in a post-Sandy Hook era, you'd take guns out of the hands of school security.

Dean Kolligian is one of those people.

"It's very important to me. It's the reason why I ran."

Kolligian, a father of four and a security and facilities manager for a local bank, won one of three seats on the board by collecting the second most votes. He's looking forward to the chance to convince his new colleagues that arming former police officers makes sense.

"They may decide that their opinion may change as well. I'm looking forward to having that conversation with folks," said Kolligian.

"As far as I'm concerned, at the board level the issue is settled," said John Brueggemann, the top vote getter and opponent of the notion of re-arming monitors.

Brueggemann, a teacher at Skidmore College and a father of three children in the district, says there are more pressing daily threats to children, such as vaping, suicide and mental illness.

"People talk about response time. I want to talk about response time to a student in trouble."

However, Brueggemann and the next board will likely have to deal with the issue of whether or not to arm security, because the public who voted in historic numbers Tuesday won't let the debate end.

Superintendent Michael Patton predicts the conversation about the best way to secure his schools isn't over.

"Never is, never is," said Patton. "We look at this as a comprehensive approach to school safety."

Kolligian was the only candidate of three backed by "Saratoga Parents for Safer Schools," the pro re-arming group, to get elected.

The vote totals are not official until next week.


Mark Mulholland

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