Parkland Shooting Safety Commission Calls for Arming Teachers

The commission investigating last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unanimously recommended arming teachers who undergo training, The Associated Press reports.

The 15-member safety commission unanimously approved a 446-page report detailing the attack that left 14 students and three staff members dead and wounded 17 others. The report included a recommendation backing a proposal to arm teachers who volunteer and undergo training.

The report also details the failures of sheriff’s deputies who arrived on the scene but did not confront the shooter. The report also faults that school district’s security program that allowed Nikolas Cruz, a former student, to enter the school with an AR-15 in a bag despite being known for having serious behavioral problems.

"Safety and security accountability is lacking in schools, and that accountability is paramount for effective change if we expect a different result in the future than what occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas," the report says.

The report recommends that the state change a law that allows teachers who pass a background check and undergo training to carry a concealed weapon in school. Under the current law, non-teacher school employees like principals, administrators, or custodians who undergo training can carry weapons but only teachers who are former police officers or military members can carry guns.

Sheriff urges for teachers to be armed:

“Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the panel's chairman, argued last month for the change, saying teachers are often the ones who have the best chance to stop a school shooting quickly,” The AP reported. “Thirteen of the state's 67 districts arm non-teaching employees, mostly in rural parts of the state. The state teachers union and PTA oppose the proposal to arm teachers. They argue that adding more armed people will make campuses more dangerous and say teachers should not also be acting as armed guards.”

Advocates warn against arming teachers:

Juliana Simone Carrasco, a high school student who volunteers with Students Demand Action, issued a statement condemning the commission’s recommendation.

“As a student attending school in Florida, I am appalled that the commission that was established to make schools in our state safer is recommending teachers carry guns,” she said. “I don’t want my teachers to be armed, I want my elected leaders to pass policies to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous intentions to begin with.”

“There is no evidence that arming teachers makes kids safer,” said Gay Valimont of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our children deserve real solutions to keep them safe from gun violence – like a criminal background check on every gun sale – not policies that will put them at even higher risk.”

Commission proposes other changes:

“Other changes proposed include ensuring school classroom doors can lock from the inside, mandatory lockdown training for teachers, and funding to install bulletproof glass on all school windows by the year 2025,” The Guardian reported.


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