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Administrators armed in some schools

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, March 26 2013 9:28 p.m. MDT

DENVER — As lawmakers across the country debate arming teachers and administrators to prevent another deadly school shooting, one Colorado school district has voted to let its superintendent and a high school principal carry concealed semi-automatic pistols on campus — a move some say sidesteps laws meant to keep schools gun-free.

The seven-member school board in southwestern Colorado's rural Dolores County voted unanimously in February to allow Ty Gray, principal of Dove Creek High School, and Superintendent Bruce Hankins to double as security officers, who under state law are allowed to carry guns on elementary, middle and high school campuses.

Hankins and Gray — both lifelong hunters — will receive an additional $1 per year for the extra responsibility.

"We won't live our lives in fear, but we realize the world we live in today and need to do everything in our power to keep kids safe," Hankins told The Cortez Journal after the vote.

"If somebody comes into the building making threats or shooting, I'm not going to hide behind my desk. I'd prefer to have more than a chair (as a weapon)."

The superintendent of District RE-2J, which serves about 275 students, declined an Associated Press request to be interviewed by phone or in person, though he did respond to emailed questions.

"In most school shootings, they are over in just a few minutes," Hankins wrote. "We will have immediate response capability."

In New Jersey, Passaic Valley High School's board of education voted unanimously last month to allow the school's principal, a retired police sergeant, to carry a concealed weapon during the school day.

Before becoming principal, Ray Rotella spent four years as the school's safety officer and carried a gun.

Rotella said the board proposed the idea for him to carry a concealed weapon. He said he is licensed to carry one in the state of New Jersey and would have no problem doing so in school.

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