Legislation Aims to Restrict Use of Tasers on School Property

By: Victoria Langley
By: Victoria Langley

The Florida Parent Teacher Association is calling on state lawmakers to sharply limit the use of tasers on school property.

PTA members voted to support a bill that would only allow the stun-guns to be used as an alternative to shooting the student with a real gun. Many law enforcement officers are starting to agree limiting taser use might be a good idea.

The 50,000 volt stun guns fire barbed prongs that deliver the zap and drop the suspect in his tracks. Their use on school campuses has become increasingly controversial.

High school senior bud baker is just one of many Floridians who worry police are too quick to tase troublesome teens.

“I feel if they see a kid acting up, that they will use a taser more than if they see an adult acting up or maybe an adult white male, other than a young black teenager.”

Lawmakers will take up several bills several bills on tasers this spring aimed at restricting their use. Some ban tasers completely on school grounds. Others allow tasers, but only in specific circumstances.

Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil is backing a bill that allows tasers to be used on students only if the student is resisting arrest and is capable of physically harming the officer or others.

“What they do is give the law enforcement officer an alternative to deadly force, which obviously is a better situation for us to be in.”

This year the bill has picked up the support of the Police Benevolent Association and the Florida Sheriff’s Association, which gives it a better shot at passing than it had last session, when police successfully killed it.

The bill limiting taser use to situations where the student is resisting arrest and is capable of harming the officer or others cleared its first Senate committee unanimously last week. It must pass one more committee before it could go to the full Senate for a vote. The legislative session begins in March.


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