School Climate & Safety News in Brief

Lawsuit Challenges Florida’s Plan to Arm Some School Employees

By Evie Blad — December 11, 2018 1 min read

A Florida district’s decision to put armed “school-safety assistants” in its elementary schools puts the safety and well-being of its students at risk and oversteps existing state law, a group of families contend in a lawsuit.

The suit—filed late last month by seven unnamed families and the League of Women Voters of Florida—names the Duval County district and its school board as defendents. If the plaintiffs prevail, they may create a domino effect that upends the armed-security plans of districts around the state.

The suit challenges the Duval district’s security plan, put in place to comply with a new state law passed in the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It requires districts to staff every school with a “safe-school officer,” who can be either a law-enforcement officer or a designated school employee.

Although the new law requires civilians to be trained in the use of firearms, the text of the measure does not require them to carry weapons in schools and does not override existing laws that prohibit anyone but trained law-enforcement officers from carrying firearms in public schools, the lawsuit says.

A version of this article appeared in the December 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as Lawsuit Challenges Florida’s Plan to Arm Some School Employees

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