Although a contentious topic that drew both strong support and strong criticism, the Florida House has officially passed a bill that allows teachers to be armed.
In turn, the bill has been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk for him to sign.
The measure is an expansion of an already existing “guardian” program in schools that allows teachers to voluntarily carry a weapon, but they can only carry the weapon if their school district approves the measure.
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In a vote of 65-47, the Republican-led House approved the bill that “allows the good guys to stop the bad,” as Rep. Chuck Brannan (R) of Lake City stated.
Further commenting on the bill, Brannan explained that “the bad guys will never know when the good guys are there to shoot back. The guardian is the last line of defense. He or she will be there when a police officer is not.”
After the result of the Parkland school shooting that took place on February 2018, former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel received heavy criticism for his lack of response on the tragedy.
However, Gregory Tony, the current Broward County Sheriff, appointed by Governor DeSantis after Israel was suspended, does not agree with arming teachers in schools.
In a statement, Tony explained that “this program would place students, teachers, and first responders at risk, when our focus should be on keeping our children safe and making schools places where students feel they belong.”
In addition, Tony said that “teachers enter that profession to educate children, not to serve as school security.”
If a district should choose to join the program, teachers wanting to carry guns would have to go through extensive training that involves a psychiatric evaluation, a drug screening and police-style training.
Though the bill was opposed by Democrats and teachers unions, Gov. DeSantis is expected to sign it.