3 Central Florida school districts seem uninterested in new proposal to arm teachers

TAVARES, Fla. — State lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the school guardian program to include arming teachers.

Orange County School Board member Angie Gallo said she asked her colleagues earlier this week to articulate the board's position in writing.

"I would like to ask staff to create some language for a resolution that states (the) Orange County School Board opposes any legislation that will arm our teachers here in Orange County," she said.


Gallo, the Seminole County School Board's Tina Calderone and the Lake County School Board's Bill Mathias each told Channel 9 on Thursday that they do not foresee their districts arming teachers should the bill be passed into law.

The current law limits guardians to school employees whose primary role does not include teaching.

The Lake County school district has a version of the program that involves arming some school administrators and school safety guardians, who are essentially armed security guards.

Resource officers guard schools in Orange and Seminole counties.

"If the teachers are armed, they have a better chance of stopping (a shooting) from the start," said Esther Taylor, whose grandchild attends Tavares High School.

But many opponents believe teachers have enough on their plate as it is.

Seven new school safety guardians began patrolling schools Thursday in Lake County. Most of them were hired to fill vacancies.

The school district said it employs about a dozen such guardians.

Although faculty and staff members know who serves as guardians, many students do not, because the guardians do not wear uniforms.

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