Leon County School Board votes not to arm teachers, other district employees

LCS gun resolution
LCS gun resolution
Posted at 9:37 PM, Mar 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-27 20:10:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - The Leon County School Board unanimously voted for a resolution to only allow sworn law enforcement to carry guns in their schools Tuesday night.

Although it was a packed house at the meeting, only four people actually signed up to speak. Everyone who went to the podium supported the resolution.

Dozens of Leon County teachers also signed a letter and voiced their approval for keeping guns out of classrooms.

The district's new resolution goes against the school safety bill signed by Governor Rick Scott in early March. Part of the bill creates a school guardian program, allowing trained school workers to carry handguns.  

"We ask teachers to do enough," said Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna. "The last thing we need is teachers, custodians or other members of your staff [to have guns.]"

Many school leaders and people in the community been vocal about the issue of letting school employees carry guns.

"There are a lot of people in this community that want our kids to be safe and care about our teachers, but feel very differently than the conversation we're having," said Leon County School Board member Dee Dee Rasmussen at Tuesday night's meeting. "We have to learn to listen to them and maybe they will listen to us and we can work together to keep our children safe."

Hanna says arming school employees who aren't trained, certified law enforcement officers could be dangerous.

"The opportunity for disaster greatly outweighs the possible prevention of something bad happening on our campus," said Hanna. "What happens if there was a fight or if the gun got into someone else's hands? What happens if the guardian shoots the wrong person or if the guardian is shot?"

A few who spoke at Tuesday's meeting said, rather than arming school employees, they'd rather see more staffing, improved health and counseling services and anti-bullying programs at schools to help prevent violence.

After the vote, Leon Classroom Teacher's Association and school board members took a picture with a framed copy of the approved resolution.

"Other districts, other small counties made decide to implement [the guardian program]," added Hanna. "We said from the very beginning, if you're gonna have a gun on our campus, you're also gonna have a badge."