TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – On Wednesday the Florida Senate voted against multiple common sense amendments to SB 7030 that, among other things, would have removed full-time classroom teachers from the Guardian Program and allowed parents to remove their children from any classroom with a teacher carrying a firearm.
Andy Pelosi, co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, offered the following statement, “The Legislature has now had nearly 14 months to craft a comprehensive school safety policy that addresses root causes of violence while also creating systems to provide for greater safety in our schools. The overarching solution seems to be adding more guns to our schools, which will be carried by a variety of school personnel (including full-time classroom teachers) whose main focus should be instruction of children. Today’s party line votes on these common sense amendments only serve to reinforce the notion that we are out of solutions and guns have become the last resort.”
“We are disappointed that none of the common sense amendments heard today were passed by the Senate. The Senate had an opportunity to make this a good bill by removing language that would arm teachers – unfortunately the votes fell down party lines. We would like to thank the Democratic Caucus for taking a position against the arming of teachers. It is unfortunate that other lawmakers have refused to listen to the voices of parents, teachers, students, and some school districts who have been very clear in their opposition to this provision. Arming teachers will not make our schools safer, and we will continue to ask Senators to vote no on SB 7030 as long as it contains this language,” said Angie Gallo, co-chair of the Coalition.
“The rejection of Sen. Perry Thurston’s amendment to remove the arming of teachers from SB 7030 is not only regrettable, but irresponsible. It is clear these Senators are at the mercy of leadership, who has made it abundantly clear that they support placing guns into the hands of classroom teachers. If SB 7030 passes with this provision, it will be a disaster not only for the safety of our schools, but for the health of Florida’s system of public education,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. The League co-founded the Coalition after the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.