Teachers, locked and loaded

Today during the Senate Education Committee senators discussed and passed SPB 7030. This bill would remove the prohibition against classroom teachers’ participation in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. The Guardian Program was created as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act (SB 7026) passed in 2018. If passed, school districts could request educators and school personnel to volunteer to be trained to carry a firearm for the express purpose of engaging an active shooter on campus.

Sen. Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) attempted to amend the bill to restore the prohibition of classroom teachers from being eligible to volunteer.  The amendment failed on a party-line vote. FEA was joined at the podium in support of the Berman amendment by several speakers, including two classroom teachers and students with Mom’s Demand Action, the Florida PTA and the League of Women Voters.

We thank Sens. Berman, Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) and Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) for speaking out in opposition to classroom teachers being asked to carry firearms to protect their students and ultimately voting in opposition to SPB 7030. However, the bill passed on a party-line 5-3 vote. The bill was introduced as a committee bill, and we now wait to see what other committees of reference it will receive in the Senate and whether a companion committee bill will be filed in the House.