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Florida could expand law that allows armed teachers in classrooms

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 12:16:35-05

HENDRY COUNTY, Fla. – Florida could expand a law that allows teachers to carry guns in schools.

Most school districts and sheriff offices in Southwest Florida are against arming teachers, except there is one who is open to the idea.

“Sure, it would be a discussion, depending on what the law reads if it’s passed,” said Hendry County Chief Deputy Kevin Nelson.

If passed, Chief Deputy Nelson said allowing armed teachers in Hendry County is a possibility.

The sheriff's office and school district already participates in the guardian program that allows armed staff.

So far, they have 6 armed guardians and they plan to have more volunteers next year after strict training.

“It’s actually very stringent, it’s actually more stringent than the academy training the deputies go through,” said Chief Deputy Nelson.

On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill that would make all teachers eligible for the program.

The bill expands a law passed last year after the Parkland shooting.

The current state law allows armed selected staff members, but they have to be members outside of the classroom.

However, that could all change with the new bill which would make all teachers eligible.

“Our superintendent met with the police chief and the sheriff,” said Charlotte County spokesperson, Mike Riley. “The three of them felt that it was not a good idea.”

Fox 4 talked to other local district leaders to gauge their opinion on any potential law changes

Riley said they do not plan to arm their teachers or staff right now. Lee and Charlotte County schools said they agree.

Instead, they all have school resource officers patrolling their campuses to watch over students.

“Law enforcement agencies actually solve a lot of crimes and they actually prevent a lot of problems,” said Rick Parfitt, the Director of Safety and Security at Lee County schools.

If the bill passed, the decision to arm staff would still be left up to each individual school district.

The proposal is still in the early drafting stages.

It will likely be reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee to iron out funding before it is ready for a full Senate vote.