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Parkland School District Votes Against Arming Teachers

Parkland School District Votes Against Arming Teachers

The Florida school district that includes Parkland, the city where a mass shooting in February left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has decided not to arm its teachers.

Broward County Public Schools officials on Tuesday unanimously voted against participating in a program that would train some faculty members to carry guns.

The state legislature recently passed a school safety law that created the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program. The plan, named after the Stoneman Douglas football coach killed in Feb. 14 shooting, allocates $67 million for sheriff’s offices affiliated with participating school districts.

President Donald Trump and many Republican lawmakers have pushed for arming more teachers with guns in the wake of the Parkland shooting. But many gun safety advocates, including survivors of the Feb. 14 massacre, have railed against the idea. 

“Teachers are meant to be educators,” Alfonso Calderon, a junior at Stoneman Douglas high school, told CNN in February. “They are meant to teach young minds how to work in the world. They are not meant to know how to carry AR-15s. They are not meant to know how to put on Kevlar vests for the other students or for themselves.”

School board officials are pushing for the $67 million to be redirected as additional funding for school resource officers, according to a statement released Tuesday by the school district.

“We should definitely launch a campaign to persuade the governor, for those districts who do not want to arm their employees, that they give us the money to keep kids safe in other ways,” school board member Robin Bartleman told CBS Miami.

Tuesday’s decision marks the second time the school board has voted on whether to arm teachers in the wake of the Parkland shooting. On March 6, the school board unanimously passed a resolution that opposes asking or incentivizing teachers to keep weapons in their classroom.

“I have not met one teacher or one student who is in favor of arming teachers in Broward County,” Laurie Rich Levinson, a school board member, said during the school board meeting Tuesday. “I support arming and having these type of weapons only in the hands of our law enforcement officers.”

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