Changes Proposed for Florida’s School Guardian Program.


Florida Department of Education

Growth of The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program will also lead to growth in the effect it has.

Natalie Ramirez, Reporter

New changes are coming to Florida’s schools. Since the uprise of gun violence, actions are being made to protect students for the worst-case scenario, one of those being the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program.

Guardians from The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program could be security contractors, district police, local police, or someone employed and trained in the program. They are put in place to protect students from a worst-case scenario. At OCSA there are school officers to perform this duty.

Discussions are happening between state leaders about expanding The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program and the training that school Guardians must go through. The program places said Guardians in public and charter schools to ward off assailants and defend the school from them if necessary.

The program was put into action in 2018 after 17 people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool in Parkland, FL at the hands of a shooter. One victim gave his life to protect students and thus the program was titled after him. Students had described Assistant Coach Aaron Feis as someone with counsel who was always there for them.

Current education commissioner, Manny Diaz, urges, “If something goes awry, the last layer of defense is, you know, the officer and having guardians at a lot of these campuses, one person’s not enough.” The proposed changes affect the training that staff guardians go through, expansion of the program to more school districts, and even having more guardians in schools.

Some who oppose the program indicate that if it expands, they plan to protest. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America oppose any expansion since their mission is to have stronger gun laws passed and prevent gun violence.

In 2018 only a few counties had used the guardian program. When others, including Osceola County, saw success they also implemented the program. Some parents felt at ease with Guardians in schools while others were apprehensive. Charter school parent Ilsa Zeron expressed, “I feel like a deputy in this case would be better prepared.”

As of late, no clear decision has been revealed. While Diaz believes students will be safer with the expansion of the program, some like Duval County have no plans to do so.