Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Wednesday, a measure that will allow Florida teachers to carry a firearm in school.
As it stands, Florida law already requires schools to have at least one armed person on site, which is often a school law enforcement officer. The measure signed by DeSantis expands the eligibility of a so-called guardian program put in place a month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 students and staff were killed.
The program allows school districts to partner with law enforcement to train and arm some school personnel, but did not include teachers until now. According to the Sun Sentinel, 25 of Florida’s 67 school districts already take part in the program. Notably, school officials in Broward County, where the Parkland shooting took place, reject expanding the program to teachers.
The new law also includes other mandates, which have bipartisan support, including more reporting of school safety incidents, a risk assessment process that’s standardized across the entire state for students deemed dangerous, and new policies pertaining to mental health.
The debate over arming teachers reached the highest levels of government in December, when the White House’s Federal Commission on School Safety called for schools to consider arming school personnel – one of nearly 100 recommendations included in its school safety report.
As of the beginning of March, lawmakers in states across the country had introduced nearly 250 school safety bills, underscoring how front-and-center the issue remains in the wake of two major school shootings last year that shook students, educators and parents and propelled the country to re-examine everything from gun safety laws to school discipline practices.
As it stands, at least 30 states and D.C. allow school security officers to possess weapons in schools, and at least eight states allow other school employees to possess weapons in schools if they meet certain safety training criteria. Among the 2019 legislative proposals are bills that would eliminate gun-free school zones, provide handgun training for teachers, allow concealed handguns on school property and provide anti-gun violence training.
Full, original story: www.usnews.com