Florida's Broward School District Makes It Easier to Be an Armed Guard

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The Broward school board approved changes Tuesday to the job description for its armed guardians, who are supposed to protect schools in the event of an active shooter on campus.

Applicants will now be considered if they have at least two years armed security guard experience in the past decade, or two years in the military or law enforcement. Before, the only experience the district would accept was military or law enforcement.

The district will still require successful candidates to go through 132 hours of training from Broward Sheriff’s Office before they start the job.

The district will also give guardians eight extra days a year for training, which will increase their annual pay of $25,000 to $33,000 by about $1,000 to $1,300. The district may also hire some guardians for summer school programs, which could up their pay by another $5,100 to $6,600.

The guardian program was created last year as a result of a state law—passed in the wake of the Parkland massacre—which requires schools to have at least one armed person. Most high schools and middle schools have resource officers from Broward Sheriff’s Office or city police departments. Guardians are used to fill the gaps in locations, mostly elementary schools, without police.

Broward has 44 guardian positions, and five are vacant, according to material attached to the agenda for Tuesday’s School Board.

"We want the widest pool to select the best candidates from,” security and safety chief Brian Katz told the board in March.

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He told the district’s Facilities Task Force last month that the district is training guardians, only to see many leave to join local police agencies, who pay them nearly twice as much.

“It’s a goldmine opportunity,” he said.

The state law was changed this year to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Broward and most school districts oppose this and have no plans to participate.

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