Some Districts Back Armed Teachers, But Questions About Florida’s Guardian Program Remain

Published: September 17th, 2019 | WUSF News

School districts in 11 Florida counties are open to training teachers to carry guns in schools as a defense tactic in case of shooting situations, according to an official with the state Department of Education. 

Damien Kelly, director of the state Office of Safe Schools, told the Senate Education Committee on Monday that of the 36 school districts participating in a controversial school “guardian” program, 11 have indicated an interest in arming classroom teachers.

School districts in Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Manatee and Citrus counties are participating in the school guardian program, which goes into effect Oct. 1. But none are allowing teachers to be armed. However, Kelly was unable to provide information about the exact number of teachers who have chosen to be trained and armed in schools. Three senators wanted to know, but he didn’t have an answer.

“That’s not data that we ask for,” Kelly told them, but later backpedaled and said he would provide the information at a later time.

Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, said she’s concerned that the Department of Education is not tracking the information, which she deemed to be of public interest.

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