Cohoes School Board takes comments on allegations against local principal

COHOES, N.Y. – On Thursday night the Cohoes School Board listened to public comments about allegations against the high school principal who is accused of buying 500 rounds of .22 caliber ammunition on school grounds.

From the start of the meeting, the Cohoes Board of Education made it clear it would not be publicly announcing its decision about the future of high school Principal Joseph Rajczak with the school, but they would listen to and consider public comment. 

Dozens of students, teachers and parents filled the meeting Thursday night, which was specifically called to discuss Rajczak who was put on paid administrative leave after the alleged incident. Police found there was no criminal activity in the sale.

“Look around,” said student Reid Kisselback. “Most of these people are here for him. I think that just says a lot about the kind of person he is. Did he probably make a mistake? Yes. Should he lose his job over it? Probably not.”

“I think he deserves a second chance,” added Brianna Tarlo. “I think he's a great principal, I've always felt that way.”

“When we consider discipline with staff, obviously it's not done the same,” said Board of Education President Mark Pascale. “We don't assign them detention or tell them they have to come in with their parents before they can come back to school. So we have to look at our response to an adult.”

According to the schools Code of Conduct, “Harmful or potentially harmful items such as weapons, firearms, knives, explosive substances or devices, fireworks, etc., are prohibited on school property.” 

Pascale says the school's code of conduct is written for students, but there are expectations for adults.

“If a student were to bring ammunition to school grounds, that student would have violated the code of conduct and there would be discipline,” said Pascale. 

“You can't be too safe on school property,” said parent Judy Mnich. “Regardless of what's going on. With all of the history of what's been going on with different schools, you have to practice what you preach. If someone else is going to get in trouble for doing that, you need to get in trouble as well.”

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