Senate Education Committee recommends arming teachers

by | Jan 22, 2020

The Senate Education Committee met on Tuesday to consider legislation regarding new recommendations that were submitted last year by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas public safety commission.

The committee unanimously backed and submitted the bill 8-0 and there is currently no companion bill in the House yet.

When the commission met in November, their report included new directives that include making sure agencies are created with specific policies for informing victim’s families and guardians after mass casualty events as well as an increased budget for mental health services and improvements. 

The commission’s recommendations led to the introduction of SB7040 which would authorize a local sheriff to provide training seminars to staff in school districts or charter schools to carry firearms. The training includes night and low-light shooting conditions as well as psychological exams and drug tests. 

The bill would add penalties for falsely reporting a school attack and it requires the Office for Safe Schools to coordinate incident reports and noncompliance of public district and charter schools to Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

A school district or charter school would need still need to vote to implement the training programs. If the program is approved, the sheriff in the county would establish the training program for certification and will oversee and supervise the program. Local school district and charter schools within the county will notify in writing the local district school superintendent and charter school administrators of all county-specific protocols incorporated into the contracted guardian training and certification requirements. 

The training program consists of 144 hours of training that includes certified, nationally recognized diversity training and 132 hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency. These hours of the training will be administered by Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission-certified instructors who hold active instructional certifications.

The sheriff’s department would also be required to review and approve the results of drug tests in order for applicants to participate in the program. The training is required to include information about federal laws as well as state laws regarding education and medical records, data privacy, and incident reporting requirements. The reporting requirements will include behavioral threat assessment and emergency planning with response procedures. 

By September 20th every year, each school district is required to submit their district report to the state. By November 1st every year, Florida’s Department of Education would be required to submit their state summary to the governor, the president of the senate, and the Speaker of the House regarding their program outcomes and expenditures for the previous fiscal year. 




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