After last year’s mass murder at a high school in Parkland, Florida, the media traced every micro-move of a small group of students who advocated gun control.
What you haven’t heard much about is the recent recommendation that schools should have more people with guns to prevent such terrible events.
The commission investigating the massacre unanimously approved its initial findings and recommendations, including a proposal that teachers who volunteer and undergo training be allowed to carry weapons.
The 15-member Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission’s report details what members believe happened before, during, and after the Feb. 14 shooting attack that left 14 students and three staff members dead. For the entire report, go to http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/MSDHS/CommissionReport.pdf
The panel determined that state law should be changed to allow teachers who pass an intense training program and background check to carry concealed weapons on campuses. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the panel’s chairman, has argued for the change, saying teachers are often the ones who have the best chance to stop a school shooting quickly.
Under a law passed after the shooting, districts can elect to arm non-classroom employees such as principals, other administrators, custodians, and librarians who undergo training. The only teachers allowed to arm themselves are current or former police officers, active military members, or Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps instructors. Thirteen of the state’s 67 districts arm non-teaching employees, mostly in rural parts of the state.
The state teachers’ union and PTA oppose the proposal to arm teachers. They argue that adding more armed people would make campuses more dangerous and say teachers should not also be acting as armed guards.
The legislation would allow school districts to decide whether to participate in the Guardian Program if it is available in their county. A guardian must complete 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training, pass a psychological evaluation, and submit to and pass drug tests.
The Guardian Program is completely voluntary for a sheriff to establish, for a school district to participate in, and for an individual to volunteer to be a part of. Currently, 25 sheriffs throughout Florida have agreed to train volunteers as guardians.