To serve and protect.
That is the motto for law enforcement agencies across the country. Should it also be the motto for teachers?
The idea of arming teachers in the classroom is a hotly contested debate—one that has been brought center-stage since the tragedy in Parkland more than a year ago. Now, a Florida Senate panel has advanced a school security package that would change the existing Guardian program to begin allowing teachers to be armed.
The Hillsborough County School Board reacted quickly to the panel’s decision.
At its regularly scheduled board meeting on February 19, 2019, Board Member Lynn Gray read a resolution against arming teachers.
“WHEREAS the Florida legislature has recommended arming public school teachers throughout the state of Florida to help ensure the safety of the children who attend said public schools.
RESOLVED that we, members of the School Board of Hillsborough County, Florida, do hereby reject any and all proposals to arm the teachers employed by the School District of Hillsborough County.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
“We do not want to arm teachers because of the many dynamics of the relationship between teacher and student—one of trust, one of nurturing, one of instruction,” said Member Gray. “And, for the urban school student, it would remind them of a teacher serving as a prison warden.”
The resolution sends a message to lawmakers in Tallahassee, that if they change the law to allow teachers to be armed, the School District of Hillsborough County stands against it—and under the proposal, as it stands now, arming teachers would need the approval of the district’s superintendent and school board.
“I organized this signing because it was important to our students to see we as a board were willing to sign it, versus just putting into words as we did last year. Thus, a more solid way of officiating our position as a board.”
How do you feel about changing the existing Guardian program to begin allowing teachers to be armed? Weigh in here.