• Brevard County superintendent says he'll recommend against arming school employees

    By: Ken Tyndall , Jason Kelly


    TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Dozens packed Titusville's Andrew Jackson Middle School Monday evening for a third and final town hall meeting on school safety and whether to allow certain Brevard Public Schools employees to carry guns on campus.

    The school board will vote on the plan Tuesday evening.

    Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Desmond Blackburn told Channel 9 he doesn't plan to recommend arming school staff.

    He said the school board might have come up with a better plan that will make more people happier.

    Read: Brevard County leaders unanimously allow armed county employees in government buildings

    Before the town hall began, opponents of the Sheriff-Trained Onsite Marshal Program, also known as S.T.O.M.P., demonstrated outside the school.

    "Regardless of how I personally feel about guns, the fact that people are talking about putting them in schools just scares me," resident Claudia Thomas said.

    During the discussion, Blackburn heard from both proponents and opponents of S.T.O.M.P., which would allow vetted and trained school personnel, called guardians, to carry concealed guns on campus.

    Blackburn supported the program at first, but he said he'll recommend that the school board vote it down.

    Read: Community split on proposal to arm Brevard County teachers

    "I just find there are a few too many questions that we're unable to answer right now for the total package of arming current employees," Blackburn said.

    He said school board members came up with a new plan last week during a workshop that involves having full-time armed security specialists who would work for the district on campuses that don't have school resource officers.

    They're still working out the details of how the plan would work, but the board will discuss it further during Tuesday's meeting.

    Blackburn said the school board will consider asking that a tax increase referendum be put on the ballot to help fund more school resource officers and a teacher salary increase.

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