schools

Parkland Report Recommends Arming Teachers

A report released by a special safety commission in Parkland, FL recommends arming teachers to secure schools.

On Feb. 14, 2018, an armed attacker killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland. While the murders reignited a national debate on gun control in the United States, it also prompted a months-long investigation into how and why the event happened, and how similar events may be prevented in the future.

The MSD High School Public Safety Commission released over 400 pages covering details of the shooting, identifying security problems and making recommendations.

Among the recommendations was the expansion of a program that allows teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to defend students in the event of an active shooter.

“School districts and charter schools should permit the most expansive use of the Guardian Program under existing law to allow personnel — who volunteer, are properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained — to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection and the protection of other staff and students,” the report read.

The current Guardian Program, signed into law by outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Scott shortly after the shooting last year, currently only allows administrators or non-teaching staff to receive firearm training. According to USA Today, the program requires 80 hours of firearms instruction, 16 hours of instruction in precision pistol shooting, 8 hours of shooting instruction using state-of-the-art simulators, and 8 hours of instruction in active-shooter or assailant scenarios.

In April 2018, the Broward County School Board voted against adopting the program, which would have given Broward County schools over $67 million to train and arm teachers, according to the Eagle Eye, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s newspaper.

Speaking about the need for such a program, Polk County sheriff Grady Judd said “911 does not work when there is an active shooter,” noting that the average response time for an active shooter is five minutes while the Parkland incident was over in three.

This week’s report also recommended a full internal investigation of the Broward County sheriff’s office, which responded first to the shooting, to “address all of the actions or inactions of personnel on February 14th, 2018.”

The committee, which includes sheriffs, state politicians and parents of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims, among others, first met in April 2018, setting January 2019 as its deadline to submit a preliminary report. During the second half of 2018, the commission held monthly meetings interviewing witnesses and reviewing “a massive amount of evidence,” according to the report.

View the full report here.

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