Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill, Which Includes Arming Teachers

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Posted: May 08, 2019 9:13 PM
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Signs School Safety Bill, Which Includes Arming Teachers

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday signed a bill that would arm teachers throughout the Sunshine State. 

In order for teachers to carry on school campuses, their district must opt into the "Guardian program." The program allows teachers to go through a screening process and training by their local sheriff's office before they're able to legally carry a firearm on school grounds. They're also required to obtain authorization from the school board, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The controversial bill, Senate Bill 7030, is an extension of an already existing piece of legislation that was enacted following the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The original program allowed faculty and staff, but not classroom teachers, to receive firearms training and eventually the ability to carry on campus. 

The Orange, Seminole and Osceola School Districts originally opted to hire additional armed law enforcement personnel instead of allowing faculty and staff to carry on school grounds. 

The bill also has other aspects designed at protecting students, including standardized risk assessment for students deemed to be a threat and new guidelines for school-based mental health. Both of those provisions have bipartisan support.

According to WSVN-TV, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County school districts have said they would not comply with the newly signed legislation. 

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Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack, who died during the Parkland shooting, applauded the effort:

The bill goes into effect on Oct. 1.