Classroom teachers in Florida will be allowed to arm themselves in the classroom later this year after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law on Wednesday.
DeSantis signed the 54-page Senate Bill 7030, which permits classroom teachers to carry weapons inside the classroom after completing “144 hours of police-style training, psychiatric evaluation and drug screening,” Fox News reported.
A school district must still decide whether or not to practice that law before permitting its teachers to undergo the necessary training necessary for carrying a gun in the classroom. The law goes into effect Oct. 1.
Previously, other school staff were permitted to carry weapons, but not classroom teachers. Of the 67 school districts in Florida, only 25 approved the previous law.
The changes were prompted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. on Feb. 14, 2018.
Gov. DeSantis signs controversial bill arming teachers in Florida public schools https://t.co/SXSkaQmVBu
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) May 9, 2019
The bill wasn’t welcomed by teacher’s unions and the majority of Democrats who believe the newest measure will have devastating consequences. However, those in favor of the law counter that allowing teachers to carry guns in the school is the only way to protect the students and reduce the number of school shootings.
Days ago, activists presented the governor with 13,000 signatures to veto the bill, but that didn’t happen. Instead, DeSantis signed the law in private and did not release a statement.
More Florida teachers will be eligible to carry guns in the classroom under a bill Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Wednesday that immediately implements recommendations from a commission formed after the Parkland high school mass shooting. https://t.co/JNVuLpIW7w
— ABC 7 News – WJLA (@ABC7News) May 9, 2019
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said, “We do not believe arming teachers is the best way to make our schools safe.”
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins of the Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association, who opposes the new law said, “Can you imagine somebody you taught potentially coming on the campus and you … protecting other children and shooting a child you once taught? We’re not thinking about all the mental issues that go into that. We also have kids that come from places where school is the only safe space that they have so turning that into a different scenario — we don’t think is healthy for kids mentally.”
A supporter of the new law, Rep. Dane Eagle said, “There is no line where we are handing out guns to teachers that walk through a door,” adding that all teachers will not have access to guns, CNN reported.
The new law will also enforce extensive access to mental health records of students, mental screening of high-risk students, and a much more in-depth account of school safety issues, and discipline occurrences, and all threats must be reported to police.