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Lee County School Board unanimously approves resolution for Guardian Program

Posted at 11:25 PM, Mar 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-08 18:31:01-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Some Lee County School employees may now have the right to carry a gun on campus.

It's through the newly adopted "Guardian Program," a resolution passed by the school board tonight. Lee County now joins a list of other school districts in Florida that have already adopted the program.

We've seen even splits in past board meetings, but this was the exact opposite. Most, if not all, who spoke tonight were against having more guns in schools. It was such a popular topic the board voted to have public comment about the program later on in the meeting.

But that didn't hold any parents back from expressing their thoughts about the idea of guns in schools. Some of those who spoke stressed that the resolution did not need to be passed tonight.

Even City of Fort Myers Council Member Johnny Streets addressed the board, saying he had his concerns. Overall, some who spoke tonight had some pretty strong words for the board.

“Please— whoever put this in front of you, tell them you're sorry," said one parent. "You know that they're dedicated to child safety but you just can't support it.”

“I have friends and family who were teachers," said another parent. "Many of them are concerned about their students' mental health, living conditions, and rigorous testing schedules. But not a single one of them would feel safer knowing that their staff and colleagues could be armed.”

We also heard from council members ahead of the vote.

Council Member Samuel Fisher brought up a few facts about the program. Such as the fact that law enforcement still has to sign off on a guardian. Teachers would also not be allowed to enroll in the program. Guardians must complete more than 140 hours of training, provided by the Sheriff's Office and also pass a psychological exam and drug screenings.

Still, some parents want to make sure the resolution is looked at carefully before becoming policy.

“Now they have an absolute duty and a mandate to make sure that whatever policy they have— or if looking into this it seems to be a bad idea or there are holes in it— that they make the appropriate decisions down the road,” said Andrew White, a parent.

Just as a reminder, this was a resolution. Next up, the superintendent will have to draft policies and procedures to bring it into effect.