Armed Teachers

Florida State Commission Recommends Arming Teachers to Keep Schools Safe

Currently, most Florida public school teachers can't carry in the classroom.


Weerapat Kiatdumrong/

A Florida commission investigating last February's deadly Parkland school shooting has recommended allowing public school teachers to carry weapons in the classroom.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission's report, released yesterday, includes lots of recommendations for stopping future school shootings. "All stakeholders—school districts, law enforcement, mental health providers, city and county governments, funding entities, etc.—should embrace the opportunity to change and make Florida schools the safest in the nation," it says. "There must be a sense of urgency—and there is not, across-the-board—in enhancing school safety."

One of those recommendations involves Florida's Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. The program, named for the Stoneman Douglas football coach who gave his life shielding students during the shooting, mandates that each public school in the state be protected by an armed guard—either a police officer or a "guardian." While administrators, security guards, and librarians can be trained as guardians, teachers cannot unless they are military members, former law enforcement, or ROTC instructors. Each school district in the state, the commission's report says, "should expand the guardian eligibility to other school employees now permitted to be guardians."

The report also encourages the state legislature to expand the program to include more teachers:

Further, the Florida legislature should expand the Guardian Program to allow teachers who volunteer—in addition to those now authorized—who are properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection, and the protection of other staff and students in response to an active assailant incident.

Arming teachers to protect against school shooters is not a new proposal. As ReasonTV's John Stossel explained in April, allowing trained teachers to carry a gun in the classroom is a lot cheaper than stationing police officers at each school. More than a dozen states already allow teachers to carry in some form or another, and there are very few documented examples of students being hurt as a result.

But the proposal has run into opposition in the Sunshine State, where the Florida Education Association and the Florida PTA argue that arming teachers will simply increase the danger.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the commission, doesn't think their opposition makes sense. "So what are we saying to people—we're not going to allow you to defend yourself, we're not going to allow you to defend the kids—why? Because of some ideology that we don't like guns? Anyone who thinks they're going to get rid of guns is crazy," he says, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "It isn't going to happen. We've got to do something differently and people should be able to protect themselves."

Does arming teachers keep students safer? It's hard to tell, though an FBI report from April said that of the 50 "active shooter incidents" that occurred in 2016 and 2017, there were four examples of citizens with valid firearms permits stopping the shooter. It's also worth remembering that school shootings with mass casualties are very rare. Schools are generally safe whether or not teachers are armed.

The public safety commission's report proposes a bevy of other recommendations, including additional classroom safety measures. It also details some of the steps the Broward County Sheriff's Office and the school itself could have taken to either prevent the shooting or limit the death toll. The report has been sent to the governor's office and the state legislature for consideration.

NEXT: Washington Redefines All Semi-Automatic Rifles As 'Assault Weapons'

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  1. Dont see how there could be a problem with this if the teachers are volunteers who get additional training.

  2. Exactly the wrong approach. We need fewer guns, not more. The solution is common sense gun safety legislation including, but not limited to, universal background checks and a ban on deadly military style assault weapons.

    Fortunately Democrats will have the Presidency by 2021 at the latest. I’m confident the next Democratic President will make gun safety a top priority.


  3. To keep schools safe, ban autism ‘treatment’. It’s basically mass shooter training. (“There is something wrong with your brain and you will never have normal peer interactions, but here are some tricks to make you appear more normal. Also don’t forget to take your meds every day.”) As for keeping communities safe, end homeschooling. These kids are not well socialized and don’t know how to deal with adversity and are quick to resort to violence. (“Public school kids are evil and yes this will be on the final.”)

    1. for keeping communities safe, end homeschooling

      {ahem} Your shitty public education is showing …

  4. “So what are we saying to people?we’re not going to allow you to defend yourself, we’re not going to allow you to defend the kids?why? Because of some ideology that we don’t like guns?…”


    1. The answer is clear to anyone who attended a public school. Permission slips allowing teachers to defend kids, but only with the approval of their parents.

  5. This is a great idea of you think cops aren’t shooting enough unarmed kids and public schools don’t resemble prisons enough.

  6. is the Hogg kid on watch?

    1. Only if a news crew is nearby.

  7. I assume that librarians would be able to use a weapon with a silencer.

  8. Gun grabbers are irrational by definition. Even if they *could* wave their magic wand and make all firearms of all sorts disappear in a puff of smoke, all they’d do is revert society to an age where only the strong and skilled ruled; those with the time to spare to keep fit and skilled.

    Mention that, and they say they still want the police to be armed. Ask about corruption, like in Chicago or the Jim Crow south, and they wave their arms around like windmills.

    They are irrational by definition.

  9. Florida State Commission Recommends Arming Teachers to Keep Schools Safe

    I’m not reading the fucking article. Arming them or removing the restrictions on them being armed? There’s a massive difference.

    And I don’t support arming them. Quite simply, I don’t believe a teacher has a moral duty to defend the students. It’d be nice if they would and a chunk of them will, but ‘arming them’ implies requiring them to be armed – which implies they now have that duty.

    Allowing them to be armed does not.

  10. The solution is common sense gun safety legislation including…a ban on deadly military style assault weapons.

    I wonder what firearms aren’t deadly? I wonder what kind of gun can’t be used to assault?

  11. I like the idea of the school that kept guns and armor locked up accessible to volunteers.

  12. Good! Better than cowering in a corner like sitting ducks.

  13. Meet the teacher. You could allow parents to put students into a classroom with an armed or an unarmed teacher, based on whether they have confidence in the teacher. Frankly, there’s nothing about a uniform that says someone who wears one or used to wear one, is any better. In fact, a teacher who knows a student shooter is more likely to be able to communicate with him. The key thing is to stoke the rumor mill that some of the personnel are armed, and that this school is a poor choice for non-suicidal shooters, or those who want to go out with a high body-count.

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