PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. (CBS 12) — The idea of arming teachers in the classroom took a giant step forward Tuesday, something Governor Rick Scott openly opposes. But the legislative decision was drowned out by the voices of loved ones touched by the Parkland tragedy.
Andrew Pollack traveled to Tallahassee to force a change in memory of his 18-year-old daughter Meadow and 16 others, murdered February 14th inside of Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I can’t tell you how much pain is running through my body; every day I feel it. I don’t want anyone to tell the pain I feel,” he said. “No one is worried that somebody is coming through that door with a gun, but our children are going to school and worried that someone will walk down a hallway and shoot them. Something is not right.”
Florida lawmakers responded Tuesday, passing sweeping school safety measures in a committee, including raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase rifles. An attempt to ban assault rifles failed for the second straight day. Lawmakers also approved arming specially trained teachers, creating the school marshal program. Some Parkland parents opposed the idea. “The idea of arming teachers in schools in fact terrifies me as a parent,” Renee Miller said.
The chief of police for Palm Beach County Schools told lawmakers that he too opposes teachers carrying guns in the classroom. “I am against arming teachers after seeing some of the teachers that I deal with on personnel cases,” he said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd thinks teachers should be armed.
“A one and one gunfight is a bad and horrible thing. But if were ever in that position, you want the overwhelming force to subdue the criminal,” he said.
“I’m here to ensure that no other father ever feels the grief that I now endure every minute, ever hour and every day. Our nation’s children deserve better,” Max Schachter said.
The legislation now heads to the full chamber where lawmakers will have until March 9th to pass it.