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Education

Hendry County School Board Votes to Arm Some School Employees

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
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The Hendry County School Board voted last month to participate in a newly-created Florida program which allows trained employees to carry concealed weapons in schools.

After two town hall meetings, a survey of school employees, and nearly an hour of discussion, the Hendry County school board voted 4- to -1 in favor of implementing the Aaron Feis Guardian Program. It’s part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Public Safety Act and is named for an assistant coach at Parkland who was killed protecting students from the massacre on Valentine’s day – he was one of 17 people murdered that day.

Deputy Superintendent Lucinda Kelley says she wasn’t surprised to see the measure pass.  Nearly 64% of school employees surveyed said they support having someone on campus with a concealed weapon.

“Most teachers don’t want to be the one, but they want there to be someone, is what we discovered.”

The law stipulated that teachers aren’t to be part of the program unless they’re involved in JROTC, are a current member of the military, or a current or past law enforcement officer.

The school district is working with the Hendry County sheriff’s department in identifying employees who could be part of the voluntary program.  Those volunteers would then have to have a concealed carry permit, undergo 132 hours of additional training, pass background, psychological, and drug tests, and take 12 hours of diversity training.

School officials hope to have the program in place by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.