TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — Florida Senate lawmakers have signed off on a school safety bill that includes a provision to allow some classroom teachers to serve as armed school “guardians.”
The Senate passed the bill on a 22-17 vote. The measure (SB 7030) includes recommendations made by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which was formed by the Legislature last year after a gunman killed 17 students and faculty members at the Parkland school.
While the bill addresses several school safety issues, the most contentious is a provision that makes all teachers eligible for the “guardian program” that allows them to carry guns in schools. Right now, only teachers that have a role outside the classroom, such as an athletic coach, can participate.
School districts would have to approve participation in the program and teachers would have to volunteer, undergo psychological evaluations and be trained by a sheriff’s office.
Some of the other recommendations include strengthening mental-health services at schools across the state and improving communication between schools and law enforcement by enhancing districts’ requirements to report incidents that pose threats on school premises or at off-campus school-sponsored events.
A similar House bill (HB 7093) has moved through committees but has not come up on the House floor for a vote.