Florida’s Congress passed a controversial bill on Wednesday that allows teachers to be armed to schools, a measure promoted following the deaths of fourteen students and three teachers in a shooting at a high school in Parkland (Southeast Florida) in 2018.
With Wednesday’s passage in the state House of the bill, which already had the “green light” from the Senate, all that remains for the bill is to be sent to the governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, for enactment into law, which is taken for granted.
Among other points, the bill contemplates arming teachers in schools, once they receive adequate training and pass a psychological evaluation.
The idea arose after the shooting that killed 17 people and left 15 others injured at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland on February 14, 2018. Its main driving force was Republican Senator Manny Diaz, who defends the hypothesis that the massacre could have been avoided or at least be less bloody if the teachers had been armed.
According to the bill, teachers who voluntarily wish to be armed at the school will have to complete a 100-hour training course under a special program in the use of weapons.
The Democratic Party and several civil organizations, teachers’ unions and parents of students oppose this controversial measure that transforms teachers into law enforcement officers.
Governor DeSantis presented last February a security plan based on recommendations made by a commission formed after the shooting at Parkland High School that included the presence of armed guards, which will be extended to teachers when the bill becomes law.
The Parkland massacre was the reason for a law enacted in 2018 that raised the minimum age for acquiring a weapon from 18 to 21 and imposed a three-day waiting period for most long-range weapons purchases.
The confessed author of the massacre, Nikolas Cruz, a 20-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, is awaiting trial on 17 counts of first-degree murder.