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East County Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2019 3 years ago

School Board of Manatee County votes against arming teachers

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Discussions spurred by state-level legislation.
by: Andrew Atkins Staff Writer

The School Board of Manatee County yesterday agreed it will not allow teachers to carry firearms in classrooms. 

Florida Senate Bill 7030, which would allow public school teachers to carry guns, passed 22-17 yesterday, so school board members approved a resolution taking their future stance on the issue. The bill still needs to go through the Florida House, where support is strong. 

The language of the resolution, as drafted by Board Chair Dave Miner and board member James Golden, who represents East County, is as follows:

“Should the School Board of Manatee County, Florida be given the discretion to decide whether it will permit classroom teachers to carry firearms while on school property, it will choose not to allow classroom teachers to carry firearms while on school property.”

While discussing the resolution, school board member Gina Messenger said she would not support it on the basis that while she does not support arming teachers, she does not want to indicate to the legislature that she disagrees with school districts having the option. She said she believed the resolution sent the wrong message.

Board Member Scott Hopes voted in opposition of the resolution, and prior to his vote, said he believed the language of the resolution is factually incorrect in what the board had the power to do in terms of arming teachers. He said it was poorly written, as well. 

“My vote against this motion is not a vote to arm teachers,” Hopes said.

Golden, Miner and board member Charlie Kennedy voted in favor of the resolution. 

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