Florida schools can arm teachers under new law

by Garry Watts May 10, 2019, 2:01
Florida schools can arm teachers under new law

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Wednesday that'll let more Florida teachers carry guns in school, the latest response to last year's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

On March 24, 2018, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, the scene of a mass shooting February 14, 2018, were joined by more than 800,000 people as they march in a nationwide protest demanding sensible gun control laws.

Ron DeSantis signed a bill that allows teachers to be armed in classrooms of public schools in the state.

The bill was one of the most contentious of the legislative session that ended Saturday. They're also required to obtain authorization from the school board, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The bill goes into effect on October 1. A policy to allow armed teachers must be authorized at the local school district level.

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Teachers must pass a psychiatric evaluation and undergo 144 hours of police training in order to carry a weapon. It expands the guardian program that allows school districts to approve school employees and teachers with a role outside the classroom, such as a coach, to carry guns.

Twenty-five of Florida's 67 school districts take part in the program, including Broward County, where Parkland is located. Democrats and the teachers' unions strongly objected, saying it made schools less safe.

Many teachers in Florida seem willing and eager to arm themselves.

The bill also has other aspects designed at protecting students, including standardized risk assessment for students deemed to be a threat and new guidelines for school-based mental health.

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