SB 968 – Legislative Response To Increased School Safety: Arm School Personnel

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Florida Public Employees

SB 968_Florida_Public_Employees

March 13, 2014

The Miami-Dade School Board declares: “Don’t let principals, others carry guns into schools”.  As reported by the Miami Herald, “the Board joined teachers unions and parents Wednesday in opposition of legislation moving through the state capital that would allow designated school employees or volunteers to carry guns on campus.”

If SB 968, sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla passes:  Will we see more school shootings?

Better yet, who will be responsible for the consequences of shootings that when the dust settles and investigated are ruled unjustified?  I’m speaking of the type of shootings resulting from emotions generated by heated encounters, personal fears, biases, and/or misperceptions?

Because, such encounter never occur on campus. Right?

The idea of enacting law to arm non-sworn school personnel is shortsighted and falls short of addressing the real issue – a lack of commitment by the legislature to adequately fund increased school safety.

As a career police officer, having been shot at more times than I can remember, I’ve learned: Those intent on hurting others will not be deterred by police or armed personnel.

I’m all for the right to bare arms, self-defense, and the protection of others, but lets be realistic:  Where are the studies to support the enactment of such legislation.  Where’s the data to demonstrate arming non-sworn school personnel will increase school safety?  Where’s the research to demonstrate armed civilian personnel will not create unintended consequences or worse yet, casualties.

As occurred in York County, South Carolina when a deputy shot a male following a traffic stop.  Thinking the male was armed with a firearm, the deputy shot the man holding a cane six times.

Click here to view the video

If such a mistake can be made by an experienced law enforcement officer, what will happen when armed school staff member are faced with threats they believe are greater than what they truly are?

A real commitment – on the part of lawmakers – would be for them to invest the over $500 million they seek to provide in corporate tax cuts to enhancing school safety.

If passed this legislation will be interesting to watch for years to come.  Just hope no one I know is accidentally hurt by it.


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