Parkland Community Reacts to Bill Allowing More Armed Teachers

Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign HB 7030, which does allow faculty members who want to carry a gun at school do so, but Broward and Miami-Dade Public Schools have already opted out.

Broward Sheriff Greg Tony also opposes arming teachers, and it's his agency which would have to provide the training.

Faculty members who volunteer for the program in other counties would have to go through the same, state-mandated training given to the armed guardians.

"We're not arming teachers, we're arming people that want to volunteer that work at the schools to go through an intense program," said Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter, Meadow, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

"My friends told me they watched the video of my daughter getting murdered, they watched the shooter reload five times, and multiple chances in that building, a teacher could've stopped him," Pollack said.

"Their mindset should be on teaching the students, rather than having to protect them," said Tony Montalto, also the father of an MSD High School massacre victim. "It's the mindset one must have when they are carrying a firearm, and we don't think that somebody who's trying to teach a fourth grader how to conjugate a verb properly should have to be thinking of that while they're trying to instruct the students."

Montalto is president of the non-partisan group, Stand With Parkland. His daughter, Gina, died in the shooting. Stand With Parkland opposes arming teachers.

"We don't want to have any risk of weapons retention issues or the choice that a teacher may have to make between keeping the children safe or going out to the hallway to address an attacker, we think those are best left to dedicated security professionals on campus."

The shooter killed two students in room 1214. Ivy Schamis was teaching her Holocaust History class at that horrible moment. She opposes arming teachers and says even if she had a gun, it would've been useless on that day.

"There's someone shooting through the door with an AR15 and I would've had a handgun, I don't know how I would've been able to save, forget myself, but any of the students in the class," Schamis said. "It's ridiculous, I can't even fathom what it would be like for teachers to have weapons on campus."

Pollack says adding layers of security at school makes sense.

"I would want everyone armed at the school with signs saying, personnel at this school shoot back, and that's what I recommend," Pollack said.

Under the bill, only school districts which have opted in to the armed guardian program can allow faculty members to volunteer to be armed at school. So far, 29 counties in the state would qualify.

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