Immediately after the shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed seventeen students and staff, Florida passed a law and assigned millions of dollars to permit and train school personnel to carry guns. The new law was named the Aaron Feis Guardian Act after one of those killed, but that has not ingratiated it to those most affected by the shooting.
On Tuesday, April 10, the school district that includes Stoneman Douglas High School officially voted against arming their teachers. Instead, they stressed the idea of increasing the budget to help students and staff with mental health issues.
“I have not met one teacher or one student who is in favor of arming teachers in Broward County,” said board member Laurie Levinson.
And indeed, Parkland students have been national leaders in a series of protests against the American gun culture, most notably with the March for Our Lives on March 24, when as many as 800,000 marched through Washington D.C. along with more than a million others in cities around the country. Crowd estimates indicate that it may have been the largest organized protest in American history.
Ryan Deitsch, a Stoneman Douglas student and one of the speakers at the March for Our Lives, posted a tweet immediately after hearing the results of the vote:
“Please do not use Stoneman Douglas as the example for the need of granting firearms to school staff. After an unspeakable tragedy, our district chose against further going down this potentially dangerous rabbit hole.”
Another member of the school district board, Robin Bartleman, spoke out about seeking political audiences to persuade the governor to use the Guardian Act funds to “keep kids safe in other ways,” instead of arming teachers.
While there are plenty of voices in favor of arming teachers, it’s worth noting that in the small period of time since the Parkland shooting, a trained and armed teacher in California accidentally discharged their weapon in class and shoot a student in the neck. The stance of the Broward County School District is that any gun in any school increases the risk to their students.
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