FLORIDA GOV. RON DeSantis, a Republican, signed into law Wednesday a measure that will allow teachers to carry a firearm in school.
The contentious move comes one day after a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County, Colorado, where one student died and eight others were injured. According to Education Week’s school shooting tracker, it was the 12th school shooting this year that resulted in a death or injury.
As it stands, Florida law already requires schools to have at least one armed person on site, which is often a school law enforcement officer. The measure signed by DeSantis expands the eligibility of a so-called guardian program put in place a month after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 students and staff were killed.
AN INTERNAL MEMO between high-ranking officials within the Department of Education says Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has the authority to tell states and school districts whether or not they can use federal funds to arm teachers – an authority she has repeatedly denied having.
The memo, presented Wednesday during a House Education and Labor Committee hearing, where the secretary was testifying on the administration’s education agenda, outlines allowable uses of federal funding for school safety measures and specifically assesses the potential use of funds for firearms and firearms training.
“The Department’s Office of the General Counsel has advised that the Secretary has discretion to interpret the broad language of the statute as to its permissiveness regarding the purchase of firearms and training on the use of firearms,” the memo reads.
LEE COUNTY, A POOR, rural community tucked into the southwestern most part of Virginia, is suing the state in an effort to allow its school employees to carry guns to combat a potential future active shooter scenario.
“I was kind of afraid of this,” Lee County schools Superintendent Brian Austin says. “We were not intending to pick a battle in Richmond. We were just trying to do what we thought was best for Lee County.”
But pick a battle it did, filing a lawsuit earlier this month in Lee County Circuit Court challenging Virginia’s refusal to give a special designation to Austin that would allow him to participate in a program approved by the Lee County School Board to allow educators and other school personnel to carry firearms on school property.