ACLU: Arming Teachers in Florida ‘Sacrifices Student Safety’

teachers gun schools florida aclu

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After a shooter was allowed to stroll onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a year ago and murder 17 people as police remained outside, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission was convened to examine the shooting and what let up to it. According to NPR . . .

Several chapters of the report chronicle myriad security breakdowns, systemic school security failures and the absence of a cohesive protocol that allowed Cruz to easily enter the campus and embark on the shooting rampage: Gates and doors were left unlocked while others were inaccessible just when students needed additional hiding spaces; there were no public address system speakers in the hallways that might have improved communication throughout the bloody chaos.

Additionally, the report notes that a recent shift in policy by Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, telling deputies that they “may” enter a building where there is an active shooter, where previously they were trained to enter, created confusion and led to inaction by eight deputies responding to the active shooter.

One of the responses to the report has been the introduction in the state Senate of SB 7030 which would remove the prohibition on teachers carrying in class and allow county sheriffs to establish concealed carry training programs for teachers and staff if their districts approve.

ACLU florida guns teachers schools

courtesy aclufl.org

But the thought of teachers given the ability to protect their students is too much to contemplate for the ACLU of Florida. They way they see it allowing districts to increase the number of armed individuals on campus further endangers students.

As the ACLU wrote recently,

Last year’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act was an unprecedented expansion of law enforcement reach into schools. For the first time, a gun was mandated in every school. We don’t have the money – or the need – for that. As the MSD Public Safety Commission found, school police, like the officer stationed at Stoneman Douglas that fateful day, are “typically not faced with many high-risk, high-stress situations … As a result, they are not afforded the chance to maintain and exercise their tactical skills other than in training scenarios.”

That’s a good job of cherry-picking from the MSD commission report by the ACLU. Somehow they failed to mention that the same group endorsed arming teachers in order to protect students from the consequences of overly permissive school administrators and criminally incompetent law enforcement officials such as those in Broward County.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 to recommend the Legislature allow the arming of teachers, saying it’s not enough to have one or two police officers or armed guards on campus. Florida law adopted after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead allows districts to arm non-teaching staff members such as principals, librarians and custodians — 13 of the 67 districts do, mostly in rural parts of the state.

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission’s chairman, pushed the measure at the Tallahassee meeting. He said most deaths in school shootings happen within the first few minutes, before officers on and off campus can respond. He said suspect Nikolas Cruz stopped to reload his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle five times, all of which would have been opportunities for an armed teacher to shoot him.

As a report last week made clear Marjory Stoneman Douglas teachers had identified the shooter as a danger more than a year before he opened fire in the school.

A year and a half before the Stoneman Douglas massacre, some of the shooter’s teachers were surveyed about his behavior. They wrote that he made threats. He was fascinated with guns. They were afraid of him.

Nikolas Cruz told an administrator that shooting guns helped him relieve stress. And when the school district judged whether he might harm other students, he met all of the criteria for aggression and depression.

Those observations, however, were never relayed to police or to mental health workers evaluating whether to hospitalize him for psychiatric care, the South Florida Sun Sentinel has found.

But the ACLU thinks that giving those same teachers the ability to protect their students — and themselves — is an unnecessary diversion of school resources.

At a time when schools are struggling to meet the needs of students and to recruit enough teachers to comply with the state constitution’s class-size requirements, Senate Bill 7030 would allow more education funding to be spent on hardening schools despite evidence that more guns on school campuses do not prevent violence. This is unnecessary – despite the tragic mass shootings we’ve experienced, schools remain one of the safest place for children – only 3 percent of violent youth deaths occur at school – a rate that has been steady for decades.

That last part is, of course true. Schools are statistically extremely safe. A student has about a 1 in 614 million chance of being killed by gunfire in a school. But these designated gun-free zones are exactly the kinds of locations that are both inviting and difficult to defend for those few deranged individuals looking to commit murder.

Florida’s school districts should have the freedom to decide how best to protect their faculty and students. At least one has hired armed veterans to help protect the campus. But if a district chooses to allow teachers to carry firearms, they shouldn’t be prevented by state law from doing exactly that.

comments

  1. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    If the ACLU really knew how to think they would protect ALL of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution, not just the ones that liberals think we should have. A statement like that is illogical on the surface and serious consideration. 97% of mass shooting s occur in “gun free” zones, you silly dips.

    1. avatar binder says:

      97% only when you pick and choose (cant include gang or drug violence after all, just nut cases).

      1. avatar Napresto says:

        A fair point, but when we hear the term “mass shooting” we don’t usually think of gangland drug deals gone bad. We usually think of crazies. So in a qualitative way, the quantitative stat is probably not all that far off from what we understand it to mean…

      2. avatar Rick Bunn says:

        No matter what laws you pass short of establishing a police state you cannot stop criminal activity. When gang kids get a few years in a juvenile detention facility for murder all you do is concentrate the bad. They get “street cred” and they are OUT and able to kill again.

        If a teacher is trained and there is a way to keep the firearm safe, then it’s a life saver. Look at the stats on states where shall carry laws have been passed as compared to New York, Illinois, and California. I don’ often carry but if the crime gets worse, I will start. I’m an NRA safety instructor and competitive shooter and couch.

        1. avatar Craig says:

          “No matter what laws you pass short of establishing a police state you cannot stop criminal activity.”
          I don’t even believe that a a police state can stop criminal activity. Just look at how many people are killed, maimed and attacked in PRISONS with banned weapons. Some of the most heavily guarded and controlled places in the nation! Not to mention all of the drugs and other banned contraband (including cell phones) that are regularly available inside to inmates.

  2. avatar anarchyst says:

    It is obvious that most public school teachers are liberals who do not take the safety of children in their charge seriously.
    If I were “running the show”, I would get rid of the “school resource officers”, as they have been proven to be useless in mass shooter situations by valuing their own lives to a greater degree than that of those that they are “sworn to protect”.
    I would hire and arm military veterans as janitors, custodians, maintenance and other skilled non-teaching personnel. These non-teaching personnel would already have the run of the school buildings, know where the “hiding spots” are, and would run toward the sound of gunfire, despite having much more to lose than the useless present-day “school resource officers”.

    1. avatar binder says:

      Problem is those are the people we need as cops, not janitors.

      1. avatar Casey says:

        I’ve been a cop. I won’t be a cop again.

        But I’d be willing to talk about non-teaching jobs in schools that incidentally include a firearm or two.

  3. avatar binder says:

    “As a report last week made clear Marjory Stoneman Douglas teachers had identified the shooter as a danger more than a year before he opened fire in the school.”

    So now you are advocating that your rights be removed if you are “identified as a danger”? How about conviction of a felony?

    “That last part is, of course true. Schools are statistically extremely safe.”

    OK, so the real question should be is arming teachers really going to be a net gain or are well all reacting with emotion?

    “Florida’s school districts should have the freedom to decide how best to protect their faculty and students.”

    OK , how about funding the cost, because I for one would not wan’t teachers who are incompetent or not trained in some basic tactics to be guarding my kids. And then we need to look at the cost to benefit. Would it make more sense to fund different programs for school safety. How about EMT training for teachers? Is that going to end up saving more kids lives per dollar spent. How about increased mental health services for the kids? Why should we waste tax dollars on a knee jerk reaction?

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      how about allowing those who desire to, to do so?
      no cost, possible net gain.

      1. avatar binder says:

        Because you end up with a Barney Fife episode, and then who is liable? The school? One of the reasons that so many companies do not like CCW has nothing to do with not liking guns, but the liability that comes with them.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/14/teacher-accidentally-discharges-firearm-in-calif-classroom-he-was-trained-in-gun-use/?utm_term=.669eb234b196

        1. avatar Rich7553 says:

          Anecdotal examples do not reflect a true risk analysis. Given the sheer number of licensed carriers, such incidents are incredibly rare.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Binder,

      Those are fair questions to ask.

      You know what else is fair? Staff and visitors arming themselves for self-defense — at their own expense — if they so choose. This option could save many lives and will not cost schools nor taxpayers anything.

      As for safety considerations, the solution is exceedingly simple:
      (1) Armed staff and visitors can only draw their handgun if an attacker is using an object, tool, or weapon to maim and kill.
      (2) Armed staff and visitors must ALWAYS carry their handgun on-body and in a properly fitting holster. No carry in purses, backpacks, briefcases, or loose in pockets without a proper pocket holster.
      (3) In all school bathroom stalls, provide a shelf or hook on the door RIGHT NEXT TO THE LATCH where staff can place their handgun when using a bathroom stall. This guarantees that no one will ever leave a handgun in a bathroom since it will be right next to the door latch and impossible to forget.

      The only realistic liabilities at that point are armed staff or visitors who “flip out” and initiate a killing spree or who panic during an actual attack and wildly sprays bullets all over the place. The answer to armed staff or visitors who “flip out” and start a killing spree: if he/she is that unstable and unrestrained, he/she would do it anyway, rules/laws for a “gun-free” school are totally ineffective, and there would be other armed staff and visitors to minimize the casualty count. And the answer to armed staff or visitors who would panic and spray bullets: simple training.

      1. avatar Rick Bunn says:

        Agree with all.
        1 – Alllow schools the budget to have MORE armed police on site.
        2 – Secure the school. Cost for the one up in Northern VA. about 500K. CHEAP compared to the athletic budgets of most high schools.
        3 – Voluntary training in first aid and firearms for staff and teachers.
        4 – Teaching our kids something about personnel responsibility.

      2. avatar YuGo HuGo says:

        If a school district supplies the guns, all guns should be the same make and model so that anyone could use the other’s gun if necessary. The cost would be a one time expense, not annually, and the employee could supply their own ammo.

    3. avatar Kyle says:

      I dont share you opinion on “untrained” teachers in school.

      Id rather have the untrained teacher’s gun available just in case, than at home in a safe.

  4. avatar possum says:

    So that’s why they gave me a stubby little yellow pencil in jail. I was supposed to make a gun out of it. So I wasted all that time in the shower picking up dropped bars of soap.

    1. avatar Baldwin says:

      Most people won’t admit to dropping soap in the shower.

  5. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Boys and Girls (and whatever), here are the simple, provable, indisputable facts: if you do not have a gun, you cannot be involved in a negligent discharge; if you do not have a gun, you cannot unintentionally shoot someone, or yourself; if you do not have a gun, you cannot engage in “gun crime”, or “gun violence”; if you do not have a gun, you cannot shoot up a school.

    Why is it that normal people cannot understand common sense? Gangers and terrorists, poor people and inner city youts, and most people of color, do not shoot up schools. No gun, no school shooting. It isn’t the criminal element shooting school children in classrooms.

    It is possible to transform a society, but near impossible to change it back. We have gone too far in building an enlightened, fair, caring society. Changing society back to when school shootings were not so common requires more time and effort than we can allocate. Therefore, we must concentrate on removing tools of mass killings; guns. And when knife attacks become the “norm”, we can require surrender of all bladed instruments. Then when baseball bats become the common tool for killing children in schools, we can outlaw private ownership of baseball bats. Ultimately, we must remove all the tools of death and injury from a public that cannot control its urges to do wrong.

    “We toilers from all fields united
    Join hand in hand with all who work;
    The earth belongs to us, the workers,”
    – L’Internationale

    1. avatar possum says:

      An implant in your brain connected to your thoughts, a negative thought and you get shocked. A very negative thought and “They” hit you with the volts until you do the chicken dance. MAGA

  6. avatar MikeJH121 says:

    How many “toilers” did Stalin kill?

    How many “workers” did Stalin and Mao Kill?

    To disarm the people is to control them. Because it is about control from the who know better then US. At least they think they do. Yet somehow here they can’t seem to get around the 2nd Amendment, at least not yet. When they start trying that is when the people revolt. Then it is not a lot of hot air about taking guns, it is not little bits here and there, banning this thing or that. But the removal of a Constitutional right scares more than just the gun people. Because the 1st Amendment is next the whole freedom of speech, they don’t like it when you say mean things about them. The lefties already have the main stream press, but the truth still gets out.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “But the removal of a Constitutional right scares more than just the gun people. Because the 1st Amendment is next…”

      One must consider that a significant number of people are convinced that the 1st Amendment only covers “legitimate” speech, which is speech they agree with. “Hate speech” is not just a quaint, irrational fiction of the addle-brained. It is a successful assault on Amendment One, and the Second Amendment was useless as a defense of the First.

      1. avatar MikeJH121 says:

        “Hate speech” ? There is really no such thing. There is speech, there is action. Speech does not “act” Saying something mean or hateful does not hurt anyone physically. Calling for the assault on say minors wearing MAGA hats from a School, still does not cause harm, but someone acting on that does.

        The 2nd still defends US against tyranny. Whether you believe that or not. Easy to calculate. There are not enough LEO’s or big brother enforcers to remove the more than 500,000,000 guns in private hands. The few Million who have yet to turn in guns in NY, Conn, and other states, where they have been banned, proves the point made. There still is no house to house confiscation. Are they just waiting? Are they gonna move in anytime soon and round up the few million? Are they gonna wait for so long until they figure the gun owners die of old age? Without a registration listing of who has what good luck going door to door.

        As you said knives would be next then bats….hammers…. any type of ingestion able poisons….the list is endless.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Hate speech” ? There is really no such thing. ”

          Curtailed speech as a response to a fear of being thought a clod is as effectively a restraint on Amendment One, as an actual law. But hate speech is a usable aggravating factor at trial. And there are places where certain communities have official policy banning “hate speech”.

          “The 2nd still defends US against tyranny. Whether you believe that or not.”

          If you are not convinced we already serve under tyranny, you may find yourself a surprised victim of worse. Just imagine for a moment, you could talk to the framers of our constitution, and you tell them about Waco, Ruby Ridge and Bundy 1 and 2. In your mind, what would be their response? Better yet, imagine that during the time of the founding of the nation, the Brits, or even the established federal government assaulted and destroyed the facility because there were children inside, where guns were being kept, or stored.

          Where were all the 2d Amendment patriots when the federal government went rogue against its own citizens. Claiming that a mob of gun owning “patriots” outnumbers the government agents, and that mob is preventing tyranny is to admit to a shallow understanding of “tyranny”.

          Am I demanding armed revolt? Encouraging armed revolt, Agitating for armed revolt? Not at all. I am simply point out that our country was built on less provocation that those four events I mentioned. “The revolt” should be at the ballot box, so that an armed revolt is unnecessary. Yet, if we take time to look beyond our guns, we see the tyranny of government expanding everyday, in every direction.

          Do you honestly think the founders would have permitted any township or State to sue charities/churches to force the implementation of surgical procedures or other healthcare provision in violation of religious beliefs? Would have permitted the federal government to intrude into the personal choices of whom we associate with/sell to? Allow the US military to declare that military chaplins are prohibited from relating any religious teaching or statement that makes a person feel uncomfortable? The Second Amendment has done nothing to prevent federal intrusion into every aspect of daily life in this country, and that intrusion is the very mark of tyranny.

  7. avatar ozzallos says:

    So what I hear you saying is you don’t trust teachers around kids.
    Hmmm.

    1. avatar Warren Neville says:

      I would trust a teacher before I would trust any cop.

      1. avatar Baldwin says:

        Our daily dose of liberals and socialists running amok is a direct result of exposing our children to teachers for the past 50 years or so. I’ll take my chances with a cop.

  8. avatar Jon in CO says:

    They can’t afford $500~ and the same amount, biannually/annually? Seriously? The school can’t somehow figure out how to come up with $1500~ one time, and at most, $1000/year for training. They have fund raisers for everything else, I’m sure there is a way. Hell, I’d throw $20 at it. No way to raise taxes for something we actually need? Paying for something actually useful?

    ACLU/Teacher Union, and everyone else crying about it: FOAD.

  9. avatar dissolutioned says:

    From what I understand, the ACLU is not the 1st Amendment stalwart they once were; they have become “woke.” Not surprised they wouldn’t support 2nd Amendment related solutions as well.

  10. avatar General Zod says:

    Only an idiot would look at the ability to shoot back at a murderer and declare that it makes everyone less safe.

  11. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    He reloaded five times, huh? And that was with the so-called “high capacity” magazines, which are really just standard 30 round capacity magazines? So much for the value of magazine size restrictions and the “shooters would have to reload more often and victims could tackle the shooter during his more frequent reloading moments” myth. Where was the tackle and grapple crowd dir the Pulse Nightclub shooting, too?

  12. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    ACLU: school police are “typically not faced with many high-risk, high-stress situations … As a result, they are not afforded the chance to maintain and exercise their tactical skills other than in training scenarios.”

    As the kids say, “Duh.”

  13. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    Schools are statistically extremely safe.

    Statistically maybe only two or three shots are fired in SD scenarios, but I’m sure as heck not leaving the house with only two or three rounds to protect myself.

  14. avatar DDay says:

    No school districts should not have the say. Liberal places like broward county will not allow staff and teachers to be armed, so this crap will happen again.

    The state should pass a law giving staff and teachers the right to carry after an indepth training course and psychological test (only should be for staff and teachers in school carry). If they pass, they should be allowed to carry.

    Do no allow the local school board to have the final say, nothing will change in many schools.

    1. avatar Baldwin says:

      If I read you correctly, limited 2A rights are ok? Carve outs for a select few?

  15. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “..a shooter was allowed to stroll onto the campus of”

    Allowed?

    Really?

    I understand you have to introduce the subject in an interesting way but your wording supports the anti-gun idea that people who haven’t yet committed a crime have somehow been ‘allowed’ to do things that lead up to their criminal acts. It suggests that if ‘the government’ had just a little bit more power then things like what happened wouldn’t have been ‘allowed.’ If the State has just a little bit more control over people and could take away people’s property and/or freedoms just a little bit easier than they do now some bad things wouldn’t have been ‘allowed’ to happen.

    The MSD Shooter wasn’t ‘allowed’ to commit his crime. Lots of things didn’t happen that should have, but saying those things ‘allowed’ the shooting to happen is akin to saying that someone making Jack Daniels ‘allowed’ somebody to drive drunk.

    I know this is going to be taken like a fragging or a friendly-fire issue but I have become hypersensitive to the language used in pro-rights/anti-rights conversations lately and your phrasing hit a nerve. It is too close to the weasel-worded language the anti-rights crowd has been using more and more lately. We are supposed to be better than them in this area.

    Rant over….. carry on with your evening.

    1. avatar Ing says:

      I disagree. That lunatic definitely was allowed to do what he did.

      So many people in places of authority and responsibility saw the threat he posed and could have stopped him, but chose to do nothing — from school counselors and administrators to local police, sheriffs, and the FBI — that the only possible conclusion is that the system, which we’re told will protect us, instead allowed that piece of shit to do what he did. This wasn’t unpredictable or random. He was known to everyone whose job it was to protect that school from dangerous lunatics, and every last one of them managed to fail.

      They allowed it to happen.

      Hell, they practically INVITED it. If I didn’t know better, I’d say they wanted it to happen…but if those incompetent boobs had planned it themselves it would never have worked.

      The phrase I take issue with is “a shooter.”

      This guy wasn’t just a shooter. 99.9% of shooters are just like you and me: we shoot at no one and hurt no one. That piece of shit (whose name I don’t care to recall) was a murderous lunatic. Full stop. (Rant over.)

  16. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “For the first time, a gun was mandated in every school. We don’t have the money – or the need – for that.”

    Phew. What a relief.

    The ACLU agrees there is no problem with students being slaughtered by mass-murderers in schools.

    So, we can drop the frenzied cries for more useless gun laws, right?

    RIGHT?

    1. avatar Ing says:

      Exactly what I came here to say.

      If the ACLU really believes its own evidence — “despite the tragic mass shootings we’ve experienced, schools remain one of the safest place for children – only 3 percent of violent youth deaths occur at school – a rate that has been steady for decades” — then maybe they should be telling all the other anti-gun orgs to call off their attack dogs.

  17. avatar Aleric says:

    The ACLU, doing their best to restrict rights and defend those who want to remove your basic human rights than anyone else.

  18. avatar sound awake says:

    not unlike the splc the aclu is just another democrat party super pac disguised as and operating like a civil rights advocacy group

  19. avatar TrojanEmt says:

    I teach middle school in a poor agricultural area similar to an urban like school district. We have similar crime stats as our big city cousins. I carry, unofficially. Im taking my job in my hands and other terrible consciences, but I’m going to do my best to keep the innocents safe in my building. I have my own kids in school here too. I’m also a trained advanced EMT, with a CCW. I work with our local swat teams and I can tell you they come from other rural locations and it can be 20 minutes until the assemble. I’ll do my best not to let our kids be victims. BTW, most teachers in Idaho arnt libs and feel as I do.

  20. avatar daveinwyo says:

    The debate an teachers and guns goes on. Love the pic of gun/pencil. In AIT we shot pencils from the .45 into paper. I’m still not sure why, but it was fun.

  21. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    The only reason why the three L’s, Libertarians Liberals and the Left, have believed the ACLU support the 1st amendment is because they support pornography. They support cross burning on private black property. By white people. They support protests at military recruitment offices.

    Conservative have know the ACLU has never supported the 1st amendment. Because they never have supported protests at abortion clinics. They don’t support the free speech rights of christians.

    No the ACLU has never support the Bill Of Rights. But if supporting pronography is your definition of the 1st amendment, then for you the ACLU has supported the “free speech”.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      BTW
      Based on my research I believe a member of the ACLU helped write the racist gun control law called the Mulford Act in california.

  22. avatar Icabod says:

    Been a teacher. The staff of the school had three of us that I’d trust with a gun. The vast majority of the teachers were nice liberal people that felt things could just be talked over. None have any experiance withweapons.
    As for carrying, a teacher is surrounded by students. The teacher has to move up and down. They move through crowded hallways and are rushed in the bathroom. Odds of dropping a weapon or having a kid get their hands one is high.
    There are about 120,000 schools in the nation. The average class year is 180 days. Events like Parkland are very rare.
    Were I king, we’d have armed veterans in the hallways. Guns for teachers? Store them in saves placed throughout the building.

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