Florida State senators debating school public safety bill that would allow districts to arm staff

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida State senators spoke for hours in Tallahassee on the controversial, multi-tiered school public safety bill.

“A response to gun violence should not be to put more guns in our schools,” said Florida Senator Jose Rodriguez, D-Miami.

At center stage is a debate whether some teachers and school staff should carry guns.

The Hillsborough County Council PTA has a strong stance.

“Hillsborough PTA and Florida PTA do not support the Marshal Plan, which would involve arming teachers,” said PTA Vice President Damaris Allen.

The bill came to light following the school shooting in Parkland.

It bans bump stocks, expands waiting periods and raises the age to buy a gun in Florida to 21.

If school districts choose, some staff would be armed, but that part isn’t mandatory.

The Hillsborough PTA would rather use the money from the bill to train additional school resources officers, not staff members.

“Teachers are trained to teach. Police officers are trained to keep us safe,” Allen said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd doesn’t understand the outcry.

“Do you want someone well-trained with a firearm to intercede and stop the active shooter before he kills your child?” Judd asked. “If you’re answer is yes, then the Marshal Plan needs to stay in the Florida legislature.”

Volunteers would undergo drug screens, psychological evaluations and 132 hours of firearms training.

If it passes, the Florida House of Representatives will discuss the bill later in the week.

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