Parkland School Shooting Commission Recommends Arming Teachers

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On Wednesday, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission issued a report on the Parkland school shooting — and said report suggested arming teachers as a way to prevent more tragedies. The findings were unanimously backed by the members of the commission.

The report, which comes in at a whopping 485 pages according to Reuters, stated that arming gun-trained teachers could help in the event of another school shooting in the future. This has been a hot topic for debate across the country ever since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 14 students — and three adults — dead.

“When you send your kids to school in the morning, there’s an expectation they’re going to come home alive in the afternoon,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualteri said in an interview. He believes that arming teachers will be a key component in stopping future school shootings.

However, there were some dissenting opinions on that front. Many questioned the wisdom of putting more weapons into schools. Others felt that teachers should not be put in a position where they have to use deadly force. Lori Alhadeff, a school board member whose daughter, Alyssa, was killed during the Parkland massacre, is among those dissenters.

“Teachers want to teach,” she said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel. “That’s their expertise. Law enforcement, their expertise is supposed to be to engage the threat.”

Sources indicate that it is unlikely the school board will support the idea of arming teachers. The commission also calls for an increase in spending on school security, and improved mental health services for students.

The report is especially critical of how both the school and local law enforcement handled the shooting. The commission called out deputies who hung back during the shooting instead of engaging, saying they needed better training on how to handle high-risk, deadly situations.

While some of the suggestions by the commission are already well underway, the report nowhere near complete. The commission will be empaneled until 2023. The state of Florida will continue to look at the suggestions produced by the panel, and will determine which are the most useful in helping to end gun violence in schools.

The Parkland shooting is the deadliest high school shooting in the history of the United States. Since the killings, several of the surviving students have become passionate advocates for gun control. In the wake of the tragedy, those students formed Never Again MSD, an organization devoted to fighting for legislative action against gun violence.