Supporters say the bill would keep teachers and students safe in a school shooting. The Miami-Dade School Board isn't buying it.
"What's going to happen," says school board member and recently announced county mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado, "is you're going to have more instances of violence, not less."
Florida House Bill 19, an updated version of the bill originally proposed by Greg Steube, a Republican representative from Sarasota, would allow Florida school superintendents to designate teachers or other school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus. Steube proposed the bill after the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut. He and supporters argue that such mass school shootings could be prevented, or at least their harm minimized, if teachers were armed.
Representatives from the Miami-Dade School Board, including Regalado, are in Tallahassee lobbying against the bill. Although this version of the proposal allows school districts more autonomy over whether they want to adopt its policies, the board still categorically opposes the bill, Regalado says, because statistics show that arming teachers in schools would ultimately lead to more risk.
Instead of moving to arm teachers, the mayoral candidate says, more funding should be considered for other security measures, such as adding police officers or security cameras.
"The idea of giving teachers guns isn't a solution," she says.
The bill is expected to move easily through Florida's conservative house, although it may have more difficulty passing through the state senate.