TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — A state Senate school safety bill that would expand a law allowing some teachers to carry guns in school survived Democrats efforts to strip that part out of it.
Senators spent nearly two hours Wednesday debating proposed amendments to a wide-ranging bill (SB 7030) that would revise a law passed just last year after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Republicans and Democrats support nearly everything in the Senate bill, which addresses school hardening, student mental health and school safety assessments, among other things.
However, senators are divided along party lines over the controversial concept of allowing full-time classroom teachers to volunteer for the school guardian program.
Currently, trained school personnel who are not full-time instructional staff can serve as guardians if school districts decide to participate in the program. The bill being considered would allow any teacher to participate.
Of the state’s 67 counties, only 25 implemented the school guardian program, and only $10 million of the $67 million earmarked for the program has been used.
This year’s school-safety measure also includes another significant change to the guardian program, which now requires approval of school boards and county sheriffs to go into effect. Under the new measure, school boards alone could authorize the guardian program and districts could use sheriffs from other counties to train personnel who sign up for the program. The bill also would allow schools to contract with private companies to provide security guards.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)