By: Sharon Aron Baron
Although Florida Legislature approved allowing teachers to now carry firearms in the classroom, Broward County Public Schools will not be one of the districts participating.
The newly-passed law allows districts to train teachers to carry guns in Florida, however, the School Board of Broward County and Superintendent Robert W. Runcie have adamantly opposed the arming of teachers or administrators in the district.
“It is the intent of the school board to not participate in this program,” said former spokesperson Tracy Clark in 2018.
The Aaron Feis Guardian Program which went into effect October 1 was passed in response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland which left 17 people dead and gives school districts the option to arm teachers, as well as security guards.
Under the program, a school guardian must complete 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training, 12 hours of diversity training, pass a psychological evaluation, and initial drug test and subsequent random drug tests. No teacher would be required to participate.
In its initial report, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission recommended that having trained armed personnel in schools may improve the response to an active assailant. The initial law specifically excluded teaching personnel. Earlier this year, the state passed SB 7030, which expanded the eligibility to include teachers in the Guardian program.
The school board voted on a resolution against arming teachers in March 2018. Without arming teachers, the Guardian program implemented by the School Board of Broward County created a position of Armed Safe School Officer with no other collateral duties to provide for the protection of BCPS students.
The school board wants the funding, which was allocated for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, redirected into the safe school’s allocation in order to provide additional funding for school resource officers.