JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A First Coast lawmaker is endorsing a bill that would allow certain school employees to carry guns to schools.
Senate Bill 1236 titled “School Safety” has been designed to prevent violent crimes from occurring on school grounds, such as an active shooter or hostage situation. If passed, it would allow certain school employees and volunteers chosen by school districts to possess firearms.
The bill states that school properties include preschools, elementary schools, middle and junior high schools, secondary schools, career centers, postsecondary schools, whether public or private, according to the bill. Right now, it is against the law to carry a gun on school property in Florida.
First Coast News caught up with parents and teachers to see how they feel about the bill if it was passed.
“It frightens me,” said Duval County mom Sharon Roy. She said that is what the school officers are for.
“I’ve met plenty at Douglas Anderson where our daughter goes,” she said. “[They] are capable of handling situations as needed and they’re armed, so we should let the people that are trained to do so, be able to carry.”
Retired school teacher Christine Vega was also shocked by the idea.
“I think it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of, that’s ridiculous,” Vega said.
First Coast News has reached out to Duval County School Board member Scott Shine to weigh in on the legislation. He said he believes in second amendment rights, but he is not on board.
“That’s a place where we need to keep our firearms at home,” he said.
The bill would require those selected to undergo special training, but Vega said that’s still not safe enough for students.
“You don’t know if somebody’s going to have a bad day or somehow somebody gets a hold of their gun,” Vega said.
“They do not need more stress at school than what they have,” Roy said.
First Coast News also asked viewers to vote in a poll on Facebook to weigh in on whether or not they agree with the bill. As of 10:30 p.m. Thursday, more than 200 viewers voted. About 71 percent voted “yes” while 29 percent voted “no.”
The School District of Clay County sent First Coast News the following statement:
“At this time, this specific legislation has not been a topic of discussion within Clay County District Schools. The District has measures in place to always protect our students, faculty, and staff. If passed, there would need to be significant dialogue with the school board to determine the need and process. If approved, the District will work collectively with the sheriff’s office and local agencies to develop professional learning sessions and plan for implementation. As a District, we will continue to monitor the legislative sessions.”
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Authored by Glen McStanly