A Sarasota County’s sheriff is making a plea to Florida lawmakers to implement changes to the concealed weapons law to allow armed retired law enforcement officers and military veterans to be on school campuses. Sheriff Tom Knight noted that these steps could drastically improve school security in response to the most recent school shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
In a press release, Knight explained:
“We have been looking at opportunities over the last two years to help school officials develop a practical and achievable safety plan for the district. My recommendation is for the school to consider implementing a quasi-school security program that puts retired law enforcement and military veterans on Sarasota County campuses.”
Knight further noted that trained deputies are already available as school resource officers and that schools could make their own decisions about the selection and hiring of their security personnel independently.
“This is not an overnight solution but it’s a good place to start. Many of these veterans have basic training, have managed major incidents and have knowledge of weaponry and tactics. More often than not, these retirees are looking for a way to care for the children in their community and this program is a sustainable solution.”
“If our lawmakers are willing to make the proper changes for the safety of Florida students, I will support their decision and stand ready to take action.”
Many people have been debating this idea on social media, with both arguments for and against having armed security on school campuses. One military officer weighed in, saying: “Yeah, because after we get out of the military, we want to pull guard duty the rest of our lives for minimum wage. You can hire any mentally stable person who passes a background check for that job.”
Another veteran, however, disagreed, saying: “Sign me up. I served 10 years in the army and would love to be able to protect our children here at home. There are many of us that would do it without thinking twice.”
Other commenters worried about the increased security presence, however, with one person saying: “Please don’t suggest we turn schools into the OK corral. The answer is to make it more difficult to get a gun so that people who shouldn’t are less likely to get their hands on one. Our schools resemble prisons enough as it is.”
One commenter asked: “And who will pay for this? School districts with underpaid teachers? Not feasible unless it comes out of the millions and millions in the new military budget. There’s an idea.”
Still another person responded: “Who cares? I will pay more in taxes to fund this.”
Another commenter offered this idea: “Teachers shouldn’t be armed. If a teacher is supposed to look to the safety of their class first they can’t be expected to also be the school protector. BUT schools should implement something like the air marshalls. Someone who wouldn’t stand out if they were moving throughout the school and grounds. Not a uniformed officer but possibly someone dressed like a janitor or an administrator.”