Florida’s new law allowing teachers to carry guns in their classrooms is largely impotent, with dozens of school districts across the state rejecting the controversial measure, The Guardian reports. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law on Wednesday, expanding a campus “armed guardian” program established after the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school massacre to include trained teacher volunteers. Republican legislators who pushed through the bill last week despite criticism from teachers, gun safety groups and several law enforcement agencies say the move was designed to improve the security of students, especially in rural counties where a police response to any incident could be slow.
After Florida’s 67 counties were left to make their own decision about allowing teachers to participate, the scale of opposition became apparent. The Guardian canvassed the 25 largest school districts by size, and found that none was planning to allow their teachers to be armed. Several district superintendents have spoken out strongly against the law, including those in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange counties, the four most populated districts with a combined student count of more than 1 million. “The school board voted on a resolution against arming teachers more than a year ago,” said Robert Runcie, superintendent of the Broward school district that includes Stoneman Douglas. “We did that because we want our schools to be safe places for teaching and for learning … Arming teachers will create an unsafe environment.” Even among some counties that signed up to the guardian program, and whose sheriffs strongly support the law, there is no appetite for placing weapons in the hands of teachers.