As suspected, given an earlierreport about a sheriff’s change of heart about arming teachers after the months-long inquiry into the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the task force has voted 13-1 to recommend that the Florida Legislature allow teachers to carry on campus to help keeps students safe. Now, we can hope the state politicians see reason and follow the suggested course of action.
In this day of random attacks on defenseless schoolchildren, it’s imperative that school districts to everything possible to protect their wards. One approach, advocated through the NRA School Shield program, is for boards of education to get an analysis of the situation at school campuses and for law enforcement officers to learn best practices on how to shore up physical security at schools—whether that be restricting points of entry, making sure all doors lock or other measures.
Another is that we have seen a trend of schools hiring School Resource Officers (SROs), who are usually members of the police force. But the cost of that is sometimes prohibitive, and—as we saw at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High—an SRO isn’t always in the right place at the right time.
Allowing teachers who have had firearm training and are proficient in the safe handling of guns gives a school the opportunity to spread a cloak of protection to more areas of campus at once. If the SRO is in the main office and a shooter is attacking at an outlying building, the SRO will be limited in how he can respond. If a teacher in every building is armed, you’re more likely to have a responsible adult closer at hand for a more timely response.
No one is saying we have to force teachers to carry a gun at school, but for those educators who are willing and able to do it, the Florida Legislature needs to take heed. And other states could stand to take some key lessons from the 407-page after-action report, too.