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The education community nationwide is rejecting efforts to arm teachers in classrooms as a solution to gun violence prevalent today in schools across the country.
Following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School, Florida legislature passed a bill (SB 7026) which would allow school employees, including some teachers, to bring guns to school if they are specially trained and deputized by sheriffs. The legislation allows school districts to decide whether or not to participate in the program.
The so-called Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program was named in honor of the MSD football coach who died shielding students from gunfire on February 14.
On Tuesday, April 10, the Broward County School Board voted unanimously to decline to participate in the Guardian Program and Superintendent Robert W. Runcie announced the School Board’s position to reject arming teachers.
“I have not met one teacher or one student who is in favor of arming teachers in Broward County,” said school board member Laurie Rich Levinson.
Of the $400 million appropriated, $67 million has been earmarked for the rejected guardian program. Gov. Scott said in a letter to superintendents he plans to redirect any unused money to school resource officers.
— Tegan (@tegan626) March 8, 2018
“Under no circumstances do I believe that a teacher should have to utilize a weapon in our schools,” added school board member Patricia Good.
Instead, Broward is requesting that funding allocated for the rejected program be redirected into the Safe Schools Allocation to provide additional funding for School Resource Officers. A school resource officer, by federal definition, is a career law enforcement officer with sworn authority who is deployed by an employing police department or agency in a community-oriented policing assignment to work in collaboration with one or more schools.
The comprehensive Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act does, however, hit a lot of sweet spots satisfying gun control advocates.
The legislation ensures full and complete background checks when a firearm is purchased, implements three-day waiting periods, raises the minimum age to 21 to purchase a firearm and bans bump stocks. In the area of mental health, the legislation passed also makes significant changes to keep firearms out of the hands of those suffering from mental illness.