The Florida Senate Education Committee will hold a hearing today at 2:30pm on the initial report from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission. At a hearing on school safety earlier this month, volunteers from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action testified against the Commission’s recommendation to arm teachers with guns in classrooms.
Following the Parkland shooting, state lawmakers established a program that requires schools to choose at least one of multiple options with respect to armed security, including allowing some school staff to carry guns. The law does not generally allow school staff whose exclusive duty is educational – like teachers – to be armed. Most Florida school districts have rejected the idea of arming school employees through this program. Despite this, the Commission has recommended broadening the scope of the program by specifically allowing teachers to be armed.
There is no research indicating that arming teachers makes children safer. In fact, research indicates that arming teachers actually makes children less safe. Law enforcement officials across the country say that arming teachers complicates the response from police, who may be unable to distinguish between an active shooter and a teacher with a gun. Teachers and education professionals also consistently reject the presence of guns in school. Last month, Florida papers including the Sun Sentinel and Tampa Bay Times editorialized against arming teachers. Family members of victims of the Parkland shooting like Fred Guttenberg have also publicly opposed arming teachers.
Volunteers from Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action will again testify against arming teachers at today’s hearing. If you’d like to set up an interview with a volunteer or learn more about the danger of arming teachers, please don’t hesitate to reach out.