TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following response after the Florida Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee voted to advance SB 7030, which would expand the Guardian Program established in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act by allowing classroom teachers to be armed and forcing sheriffs to implement Guardian Programs, potentially against their wishes.
“Arming teachers is an incredibly risky idea,” said Gay Valimont, volunteer leader with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “The bottom line is that anytime someone intent on doing harm enters a school with a gun, we’ve already failed every person in the building. That’s why lawmakers should continue to focus on passing policies that are proven to intervene before a potential shooter ever brings a gun to school, instead of risky proposals like arming teachers.”
“My classmates and I deserve to feel safe at school,” said Michaela O’Brien, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Knowing that my teachers could be carrying guns doesn’t make me feel any safer. Instead, I want lawmakers to focus on passing policies that ensure people who shouldn’t have guns can’t get them, policies like requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale.”
Most school districts in Florida have not implemented the Guardian Program, which has no record of proven success. Last month, the nation’s two largest teaching unions – the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association – joined Everytown in opposition to proposals to arm teachers. The organizations released a report of recommended school safety practices that approach school gun violence from all angles with a focus on keeping guns out of the hands of people who should not have them and plans that address the health and safety of students. The National Association of School Resource Officers, the largest organization of school-based law enforcement officers, also opposes arming teachers.