New Florida Gun Laws Can Affect Some Teachers
October 13, 2019
Some teachers in Florida can carry guns on campus starting October 1, 2019.
The act is part of the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May. The bill was inspired by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2017.
The bill lets school districts implement at least one school-safety officer, such as a school resource officer, law enforcement official, a school security guard or a school guardian, per public school.
In 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission founded the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, named after the Parkland faculty member who was killed in the attack. The program works to arm teachers and staff hired as guardians in case of an attack. A guardian is a hired guard or personnel on school that is armed.
According to the Florida Department of Education, guardians must pass psychological and drug screenings and complete at least 144 hours of training.
39 out of Florida’s 67 counties are participating in the program so far, including Broward County, despite the school board’s initial plan not to.
“I don’t think teachers should carry guns. I think it could potentially be more dangerous if [guns] aren’t handled by trained law enforcement officials,” said AP seminar and US history teacher David Dainer-Best.
The bill allows for teachers to arm themselves anonymously for safety, but it doesn’t require them to. Districts don’t have to join the program if they don’t wish to. Miami-Dade public schools, the biggest public district in Florida, has chosen not to.
“No, I would not carry a gun,” Dainer-Best said.