The Republican governor of Florida signed a bill on Wednesday that would allow for more teachers in Florida to carry guns to protect themselves and children in school. This news comes after a shooting in Colorado left one child dead and 8 more injured.
DeSantis humbly signed the bill in private and issued no statement. The Republican-led Florida House of Representatives voted to send the bill to the governor last week, while the GOP-controlled state Senate passed the measure the week before.
The new Desantis sponsored law adds onto a preexistent school “guardian” program that was passed immediately after the Parkland shooting that occurred in 2018. The “guardian” program allowed for only the teachers who had anther role at the school, such as sports coach, to carry weapons on school grounds. This new bill would allow for any teacher at the school to carry a weapon so long as the school district approves, and the teacher passes a strong and thorough vetting process. This process would include psychiatric evaluations, drug screening and at least 144 hours of police style to ensure they know how to handle their weapon in different situations.
The bill was opposed by most Democrats and teachers’ unions, who simply don’t seem to care about child safety to the same extent that others do. Their ridiculous argument was that the introduction of more weapons in schools would place children at risk, increase the dangers of mistaken shootings and lead to more violence against African American students because of inherent biases–not to mention the assumption of said bias is pretty biased in it of itself. Supporters of the bill said arming teachers is the best way to protect children from future school shooters. Republicans emphasized that the program is voluntary, and that law enforcement in some rural districts could take as long as 15 minutes or even more to arrive at a school if a shooter were to attack.
It’s not yet clear how many of the school districts in Florida will approve of the expansion of the “guardian” program. Currently, 25 of the state’s 67 school districts take part in the program, however, boards in some of Florida’s most populous counties have already opted out, preferring to use trained police officers for school security.
“Can you imagine somebody you taught potentially coming on the campus and you … protecting other children and shooting a child you once taught?” Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins of the Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association told Fox News this week. “We’re not thinking about all the mental issues that go into that.”
“We also have kids that come from places where school is the only safe space that they have,” Baxter-Jenkins said, “so turning that into a different scenario — we don’t think is healthy for kids mentally.” Baxter-Jenkins seems to be more concerned with hurting the kid’s feelings than with keeping them alive.
The new law also makes strides to keep schools safer by stopping shootings before it ever gets to that point. The bill contains several other school safety measures, such as wider disclosure of certain student mental health records and mental screening of troubled students. It also mandates greater reporting of school safety and student discipline incidents and a requirement that law enforcement officials be consulted about any threats.
Governor Desantis is doing his best to ensure that the future of this country– children –have a safe place to learn and grow. But of course, Democrats carelessly are attempting to undermine any productive decision made by Republican Governor.