Florida wants to arm teachers amid Parkland anniversary

Florida lawmakers marked the first anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by pushing forward a new effort to put even more guns in schools.

The bill, which cleared the Senate Education Committee along party lines Tuesday, would allow teachers with concealed carry permits to bring their guns to school provided they receive more than 100 hours of firearms training from local sheriff’s departments. It will be considered by the full Florida Senate when it comes back into session in March. The bill is expected to pass.

“I want someone there to protect my eight grandchildren and their generation,” Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala), said during Tuesday’s hearing. “They deserve to have someone ready.”

RELATED: Parkland keeps memory of shooting alive

22 PHOTOS
Parkland, Fla. keeps memory of shooting alive
See Gallery
Parkland, Fla. keeps memory of shooting alive
An empty chair is seen in front of flowers and mementoes placed on a fence to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, wears a t-shirt with the names of the victims of the shooting, as she plays the piano at her house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal (R), who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, attends a baseball game her brother is playing in, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cries next to his family after painting a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. Listening to his son's favourite music, Oliver painted the mural from beginning to end, but as soon as he finished, he broke down and had to walk inside the hotel to mourn. Later he went out again to give interviews to the media to call for more gun control. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, cries in his hotel room before painting a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. Minutes before leaving the hotel room to paint the mural, Oliver put on his son's headphones and played his favourite music. Almost immediately, he started to cry and he had to take them off. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A man looks at pictures of the victims of the mass shooting in Parkland on the program during the graduation ceremony for students from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver (R) and Patricia Padauy (2nd R), parents of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, look at the screen as they wait backstage to receive their son's diploma during his graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Patricia Padauy, the mother of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holds up her son's diploma during his graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, attend their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, walks past his son's classmates, during their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School attend their graduation ceremony in Sunrise, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, helps her brother practice baseball at their house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Autographed sports t-shirts, pictures and placards are seen among other mementoes at the room of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at his house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
The entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is seen after the police security perimeter was removed, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
A member of the media pushes a cart full of equipment in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A garbage bag full of crime scene tape is seen close to the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, after the police security perimeter was removed, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Patricia Padauy, the mother of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, talks to a journalist during an interview before attending her son's high school graduation ceremony to receive his diploma, at home in Parkland, Florida, U.S., June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Daniela Menescal, who was injured by shrapnel during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, looks for her belongings inside her clear backpack at her house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
The initials of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a placard are placed on the fence at Park Trails Elementary School, following a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 9, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver one of the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, holds up a placard as he paints a mural to commemorate the victims of the shooting and promote gun control in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2018. As he paints the mural Oliver listens to his son's favourite music on the headphones that belonged to him. The mural depicts his son the day that he died, carrying flowers to his girlfriend for Valentine's day. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Carlos Rodriguez (2nd R), student and shooting survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, talks with his schoolmates and co-founders of Stories Untold, a movement created to encourage victims of gun violence to share their stories, during a meeting at his house in Parkland, Florida, U.S., April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
Pictures of Joaquin Oliver and Aaron Feis, victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, are seen on a cross placed in a park to commemorate the victims, in Parkland, Florida, U.S., February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins 
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

But Florida schools already allow certain security personnel to carry weapons. And by its own admission, the Senate Education Committee said it had no data to support the idea that arming more staff is an effective method to prevent or stop school shootings, CBS 47 reported. The committee also failed to clearly explain how firearms would be securely stored within the classroom, according to the news outlet.

The committee’s acceptance of the bill flies in the face of criticism from many shooting survivors and their families, who have spent the past year fighting for gun control. They staged marches around the country and the world to call for stricter gun laws. They inspired students across the country to walk out of their own schools in protest of having to live in fear of school shootings. And the parents of children who died in Parkland took lawmakers to task for their inaction on gun violence, even when the parents were blatantly disrespected by those same people in power time and again. 

Arming teachers actually makes schools less safe, according to Bacardi Jackson, managing attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“You can look at the most hardened prison in America, hardened by every possible means, and that in and of itself teaches us that hardening places doesn’t create safe spaces,” Jackson told HuffPost. “Why would we want to create a prison-like environment that we know will not lead to a safer environment?”  

At least 28 states have policies that allow armed security personnel in schools, and at least eight states allow school employees themselves to carry firearms, according to a 2018 report by the Education Commission of the States.

17 PHOTOS
Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
See Gallery
Victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting

Scott Beige - Geography Teacher

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Elizabeth James Watt​​​​​​​

Chris Hixon - athletic director

Photo Credit: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

15-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff

Photo Credit: Florida Youth Soccer Association

14-year-old Alex Schachter

Photo Credit : Getty 

14-year-old Cara Loughran

Photo Credit: Facebook

17-year-old Helena Ramsey

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Alaina Petty

Photo Credit: Facebook

14-year-old Gina Montalto

Photo Credit: Facebook

15-year-old Peter Wang
18-year-old Meadow Pollack (left)

Student Jaime Guttenberg

Photo Credit: Facebook 

Student Martin Duque

Photo Credit: Martin Duque/GoFundMe

17-year-old student Nick Dworet

Photo Credit: Instagram 

Football coach Aaron Feis.

Photo Credit: MSDfootball.com

16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup

Student Joaquin Oliver

Photo Credit: Facebook

Student Luke Hoyer

Photo Credit: Facebook 

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“We’re doing everything we can to make our voices heard, yet our lawmakers still ignore our efforts to save Floridian lives,” said Jovanna Liuzzo, a recent high school graduate and volunteer at the Florida chapter of Students Demand Action, of the Florida bill. “We don’t want our teachers to be armed. We want common-sense gun laws to make sure that people with dangerous histories don’t have access to guns in the first place.”

The idea that “a good guy with a gun” could stop a bad one, spouted by the National Rifle Association, has also been largely unfounded. As The New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal pointed out in 2012, multiple “good guys” with a gun are more likely to confuse law enforcement officers looking for the “bad guy” with a gun.

About the only thing more terrifying than a lone gunman firing into a classroom or a crowded movie theater is a half a dozen more gunmen leaping around firing their pistols at the killer, which is to say really at each other and every bystander. It’s a police officer’s nightmare. 

The FBI, in its review of 250 active shooting incidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2017 found that in only seven cases did a civilian with a valid firearms permit actually stop a shooter.

Jackson said police officers already make difficult judgment calls that can sometimes lead to the deaths of innocent people. To give that heavy responsibility to civilian teachers seems callous.

The head of the Florida Education Association said that it’s a responsibility that many teachers don’t want.

“This is the wrong conversation and the wrong decision coming from lawmakers,” Fedrick Ingram told HuffPost. “Unfortunately, they have not asked teachers how to make these schools safer, because any teacher will tell you that we need to be talking about counseling and mental health issues. Those are the things that will stop these issues before they happen.” 

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas commission, which released a report of more than 400 pages that has been the basis for the new bill, does not include any current teachers.

This MSD commission has lots of law enforcement folks, and we respect law enforcement, they do a great service, but there is not a [current] teacher on this commission,” Ingram said. “If our lawmakers are following this commission, then they are not following the voices of our teachers and parents. The priority is wrong.”

Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Florida, will soon have two combat veterans in body armor roaming their school equipped with Glock handguns and semiautomatic rifles, The New York Times reported on Monday. The idea is for the weapons-ready veterans to take down a school shooter at a moment’s notice. Jackson said that will only make students more afraid.

“I have three children, and I cannot imagine my children having to pass a man standing in their hallway with a bulletproof vest, a semiautomatic and a Glock ― that’s terrifying to me,” she said. 

Even those given clearance to protect children in school with firearms can, and do, make costly mistakes. Two weeks after the Parkland shooting, a Georgia teacher barricaded himself in a high school classroom and fired a handgun. A short time after that, a school resource officer at a Virginia middle school accidentally discharged his service weapon inside his office. 

In both of those cases, no one was hurt. But armed protection had already been in place at Stoneman Douglas the day of the deadly shooting. An armed school resource officer was standing outside the school as the shooting went on.

He never went inside.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.