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Broward schools don't plan to arm teachers

The school board in Broward County, Florida -- where a gunman killed 17 students and staff members at one of its high...

Posted: Apr. 11, 2018 10:12 AM
Updated: Apr. 11, 2018 10:12 AM

The school board in Broward County, Florida -- where a gunman killed 17 students and staff members at one of its high schools -- said Tuesday it will not participate in a program that allows certain school employees to be armed.

Rather, the board said in a press release, funding allocated for the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program should be redirected to hire more school resource officers.

Board members, who voted on the matter, have authorized Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie to communicate their intent regarding the controversial provision of Senate Bill 7026, which was signed by Gov. Rick Scott last month.

Known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, the law tightens gun control in several ways but also allows some teachers to be armed.

The law is the first gun control legislation enacted in the state after the Parkland school massacre on February 14. Among the provisions are more funding for armed school resource officers and mental health services.

The allowance for certain employees to carry guns brought perhaps the most debate. Before final passage, the state Senate limited who could take part.

Those who "exclusively perform classroom duties as classroom teachers" wouldn't be allowed to participate in the program. Qualfied teachers who perform additional duties, such as coaching football or heading the drama club, would be allowed to participate, along with administrators and cafeteria workers.

The guardian program is a local option, if the school district and sheriff's department agree. It was named after the coach who shielded students from bullets with his own body and died in the massacre.

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