Parkland Shooting Commission Recommends Arming Florida Teachers
The Parkland shooting commission, formally called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, has recommended arming teachers to prevent school shootings. In fact, commissioners voted 13 to one in favor of trained teachers having guns in schools.
The commission’s report says that having school resource officers aren’t enough. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission’s chairman, has been especially vocal about arming teachers.
“We have to give people a fighting chance, we have to give them an opportunity to protect themselves,” said Gualtieri, according to Fox News. He said there aren’t enough officers or money to hire one for every school, but even then officers need backup. “One good guy with a gun on campus is not enough.”
Legislators in Florida already passed a bill that allows districts to arm non-teaching staff. This includes principals, librarians and custodians. In fact, 13 of Florida’s 67 districts allow some staff to carry guns on campus, mostly in more rural areas.
Of course, a lot of people oppose arming teachers, including the state teachers union and the PTA. Commissioner Max Schachter cast the single vote against arming teachers. Schachter’s 14-year-old son Alex died in the massacre. However, he was the state to focus on hiring more police officers.
The Parkland shooting commission, which consists of educators, mental health experts, law enforcement and the fathers of two students killed, has been meeting since April.
Parkland Shooting Commission Recommendations
While arming teachers is the most controversial of the commission’s recommendations, it also looked at other factors that contribute to school shootings, particularly the Parkland shooting.
The commission also voted to condemn the actions, or lack thereof, of former Stoneman Douglas campus deputy Scot Peterson. Peterson did not enter the school or engage the shooter. In a lawsuit, Peterson has claimed he had no duty to enter the school. However, Broward Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning recently ruled that Peterson did have a duty to protect the students.
Other recommendations the commission will consider are having armed security with explicit orders to confront shooters. They also want to look at improving communication systems on campuses, limiting entrances and imposing uniformity in identifying and helping troubled students.
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