DeSantis Signs Bill to Arm Teachers, Osceola School Board Sets Meeting to Discuss


AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Gov. Ron Desantis has signed a bill that will allow more classroom teachers to carry guns in school

Raquel Perry, Reporter

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Wednesday a bill that will allow school districts in Florida to arm teachers. The bill is a response to last year’s mass shooting at a Parkland high school.

Putting guns in the hands of teachers has been a controversial issue in Florida this year. The measure is an extension of an existing school “guardian” program which allowed some employees, not classroom teachers, to receive training for weapons and then carry guns on school property. This new bill allows any teacher to volunteer to carry a weapon if their local school district approves. Twenty-five of 67 Florida school districts are taking part in the program, including Lake and Broward counties. The Osceola County School Board currently relies on officers to patrol its campuses, but board members haven’t discussed changing that to arm teachers as yet, a spokesman said.

On Tuesday night, Osceola County School Board Member Terry Castillo brought the subject up for discussion.

“This is imperative,” she said. “And I think we need to give it the attention it deserves.”

Castillo said she did not want to include educators in the guardian program.

School Board Member Tim Weisheyer quickly noted that he disagreed on the issue with Castillo. He suggested hosting a workshop meeting before any decisions are made.

“The only way a body like ours comes to the right position on this is by having an open, honest, objective conversation surrounding the pros and cons on both sides,” he said.

Superintendent Debra Pace noted that SB 7030 is a massive education bill with many moving parts – and acknowledged that things may get tricky when it comes to charter schools. However, as many school board members did, she made it very clear that she was not advocating one way or another.

Board Member Kelvin Soto added a meeting to the agenda on May 21st at 8 am, to discuss arming teachers with guns in Osceola County.

OCSA’s March For Our Lives Club is calling students to come help rally against SB-7030. Molly Lavoive, the current president of the club, says, “This is imperative”. To find out more information on how you can participate in helping out, go to Mrs. Taylor’s room, 5-112.