The Broward County school board voted against arming teachers in the district where a gunman killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year.
The decision was made Tuesday at a board meeting at which members voted against participating in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which forms part of the controversial Florida Senate Bill 7026 signed by Gov. Rick Scott last month, CNN reported.
Board members authorized Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie to communicate their intent regarding the program that provides $67 million statewide for the training to arm certain school employees, suggesting that the funding instead be redirected to hire more school resource officers.
“To leave $67 million on the table is a travesty,” school board member Robin Bartleman said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “For those districts that don’t want to arm employees, they should give us money to keep children safe in other ways.”
Another board member, Rosalind Osgood, noted that the program would mean “more guns, the purchase of more guns, the legalization of more guns and more guns brought from the community into schools,” the newspaper noted.
Tuesday’s meeting was dominated by issues relating to the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting, but central to discussions was the board’s objection to arming employees.
Senate Bill 7026, also known as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, seeks to enforce stricter gun control by raising the age limit for firearm purchases and allowing law enforcement more authority to confiscate weapons, USA Today noted.
The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which was named after a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High coach who had died while shielding students during the mass shooting, was initially intended to arm teachers, but this motion was later rejected and instead it was decided that just certain staffers such as librarians, administrators, coaches, ROTC instructors and others would be able to have weapons.
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