Hochul: no to armed school staff, yes to Narcan on campus

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul doesn’t like the idea of armed and trained school staff carrying firearms to serve as a first line of defense in case of a targeted attack on a school campus, but the Democrat is much more amenable to the idea of college administrators and residential advisors being armed with Narcan in case of an opioid overdose at school.

Hochul signed legislation on Monday that not only requires all public colleges and universities in the state to have a ready supply of Narcan available in case of an on-campus overdose, but mandates that some employees and RAs be trained on how to administer the drug as well.

“By signing this legislation, lifesaving overdose prevention medicine will be required in SUNY and CUNY campus housing, as well as trained staff on-site – leading to faster response times and helping prevent needless tragedies,” Governor Hochul said. “My Administration will continue to work every day to fight the opioid epidemic and provide New Yorkers with further access to lifesaving resources, services, and care.”

Hey, you know what else can lead to faster response times and help prevent needless tragedies? Allowing school districts to decide for themselves if they want staff members who’ve volunteered and been trained and vetted to lawfully carry a firearm (or at least have access to one) while on the job on the off chance that their school becomes the focus of someone with murderous intentions.

Hochul panned that idea in an appearance on MSNBC this weekend, claiming that Rep. Lee Zeldin, her Republican opponent in the New York governor’s race, wants “armed teachers” in schools. What Zeldin has actually called for are “trained, armed school resource officers.”

The Republican congressman from Long Island, who is vying to oust Gov. Kathy Hochul from office, made a surprise appearance and briefly took questions during a Zoom meeting Wednesday night sponsored by the NYC School Safety Coalition.

“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.

Mona Davids, who heads the coalition, praised gubernatorial candidate Zeldin’s commitment to providing vests to school safety agents. She said an invitation was also extended to Hochul’s campaign to speak to the group, but she did not get a response.

Hochul and the city Department of Education did not immediately return requests for comment.

Why would Hochul bother to speak with parents directly when she can just go on MSNBC and deliver her talking points to Al Sharpton instead?

If Hochul is going to use that argument, then why isn’t she also saying “we cannot be arming our college educators and dorm monitors with Narcan. We have to get the drugs off campus”?

The fact of the matter is that we can both protect our kids on campus and focus police resources on the most violent and prolific offenders, but that’s completely antithetical to Hochul’s public safety “strategy”, which involves criminalizing the right to bear arms as much as possible while downplaying New York’s crime problem.

Hochul seems to recognize that, no matter New York’s drug laws, criminals are still going to find a way to bring fentanyl, heroin, and other dangerous and deadly narcotics into the state, so from a harm reduction approach it makes sense to provide administrators and residential advisors with a tool that they can use in the case of an overdose. When it comes to students in K-12 schools, on the other hand, Hochul adopts an abstinence-only approach that’s based on the ludicrous idea that students and staff will be safer, even if the school resource officers tasked with protecting kids are prohibited from having access to a firearm, as long as the state is enforcing its draconian gun laws.

Hochul’s anti-gun ideology, from the new restrictions on those with concealed carry licenses to her absurd objections towards armed school resource officers, are far more likely to create needless tragedies rather than prevent them. I have no objections to the state putting Narcan on college campuses in an effort to save lives, but I do hope that New York voters see her inherent double-standard on student safety when it comes to protecting students from dangerous drugs versus dangerous people.