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Arming teachers?

During the 2018 legislative session, the Legislature passed SB 7026, which was hastily cobbled together in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. One of the more controversial components of the legislation was whether to arm classroom teachers. Despite opposition from FEA, parent groups and even the education commissioner and governor, the legislation created the “Guardian” program, which allows voluntary non-instructional school personnel to be trained to carry a concealed weapon in order to protect against an active shooter situation.

The House Education Committee and Senate Education Committee this week heard presentations from Bob Gualtieri, Pinellas County sheriff and head of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, regarding the 482-page report on the findings on the school shooting, including 99 recommendations from the commission on ways to improve school safety and mitigate future mass shootings. One of these recommendations is to expand the “Guardian” program to include teachers who wish to volunteer to concealed carry.

As we have said in the past, FEA’s position remains that only trained law enforcement personnel should carry weapons on campus, and we will continue to advocate for that position this coming session as well.

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