Cohoes High principal accused of buying ammo on school property

Posted at: 05/13/2013 12:08 PM
Updated at: 05/13/2013 6:08 PM
By: Kumi Tucker

Cohoes High School.
Cohoes High School.
Photo: WNYT

COHOES - Parents are concerned and upset about allegations that the Cohoes High School principal bought ammunition from a former student in the school's parking lot.

School officials say buying ammunition on school property is a violation of the school's code of conduct.   

"I think if it were true, it would be a huge gap in judgment for a principal who is supposed to be leading by example in the school district," said parent John Charles.

Cohoes police are investigating allegations that Cohoes High School principal Joseph Rajczak bought .22-caliber bullets from a former student in the school parking lot during a school day on Wednesday, May 1.

Police say the former student works at Dick's Sporting Goods and bought the ammunition there.

Investigators are looking into whether or not anything illegal happened.

We reached out to New York State Police and they told us it is illegal to buy or sell firearms on school property, but not ammunition.

"There may or may not be criminal charges involved in this. For instance, under the New York Safe Act it wouldn't be a crime until March of 2014 where a background check would be required for anyone buying ammunition," said Cohoes Police Chief Bill Heslin. 

School officials say they found out about the allegations on May 3rd. Police say they weren't notified until the 9th, six days later.

A statement from the superintendent on the district website says, "buying ammunition on school grounds is a violation of the school's code of conduct."

The parents we spoke with outside the high school say it shows poor judgment and that a school is no place for ammunition.

"I think he should be fired. I would never let my kid go to school even knowing that the principal or teacher was like that," said parent Jennifer Jones.

"Walking to school and stuff, you never know if people have guns or anything, if they're bringing bullets in," said parent Steve Stangle.

"One of the biggest concerns we have nationwide is safety at the schools. Why would purchasing or even having ammunition delivered to a school, why would that have been a good decision?" asked parent John Charles.

Police say the principal told them he did not have a gun at the school.