HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A measure allowing classroom teachers to carry a gun on campus is moving forward in the state senate.
It’s part of a bill expanding Florida’s school safety program and a vote could come early next week. This comes as the final group of new Hillsborough County school security officers will graduate today from training. The security officers have trained for more than 100 hours. They all have the same goal to keep kids and teachers in the classroom safe.
Today’s graduation comes just one day after the state senate gave tentative approval to legislation allowing teachers to be armed if they undergo training and local school boards agree. The provision is part of the school safety bill. Many republicans who support the bill say it’s an extra layer of protection. Democrats who are against it say it’s not needed.
“The mere presence of the message that says someone already here is prepared to act if something goes wrong, that’s the power. It’s not having everybody armed. No educator is being asked to be armed,” said Senator Dennis Baxley, republican.
“I think that we raised enough issues where the teachers will be concerned about it. Being targeted for the weapons, not getting any additional compensation for this. I just think it’s unnecessary, the current system is working,” said Senator Perry Thurston, democrat.
As for the school security officers graduating today in Hillsborough County, they’re part of the state mandate that requires officers in every school. The new officers have undergone 132 hours of intense firearms training, active shooter response, psychological exams and weapons qualifications.
A vote on the Florida senate school safety bill is scheduled for Tuesday. A similar bill is being considered by the house.