Florida Senate Legislation Allows for Armed Teachers

Photo via Florida House of Representatives

Photo via Florida House of Representatives

Shaelyn Drost, Managing Editor

Florida Senate voted last week to allow armed teachers in classrooms under the Guardianship Program.

The measure was approved Tuesday, April 21st by a divided Florida Senate, made in spite of extreme controversy and opposition from students, parents, and even the Florida PTA, the state’s largest teachers union.

The legislation passed the Senate 22 to 17, with most Democrats in opposition. Every Republican voted in favor of the measure, except for Sen. Anitere Flores of Miami.

While the School District of Palm Beach County decided against participating in the Guardians Program established in Florida last year, other participating schools and teachers will now be trained to carry guns in the classroom.

Senators supporting the measure claimed it was a defensive move as part of recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, in light of the tragedy that occurred in February of last year. However, this does not account for the majority of MSDHS students, parents, and teachers voicing their dissent toward the legislation.

Many opposing Democrats view the legislation as unfair, and potentially dangerous, to expect teachers to respond to emergencies as armed defenders of their students, and possibly risk their own lives. They argue that instead, trained law enforcement should provide campus security.

The legislation is still awaiting complete approval in the Republican-dominated House, though it is considered by many to be “virtually guaranteed”.

Lawmakers are working toward a scheduled May 3 adjournment.