Arming teachers stays in school safety bill as Senate prepares to vote

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - The Florida Senate gave tentative approval to legislation that would expand the state’s school safety program, including a measure that would allow classroom teachers to carry a gun on campus.

Democrats attempted to tag on more than two dozen amendments, one of which would have removed the language that would allow for teachers to be armed, but it failed, facing heavy opposition from Republican lawmakers like Senator Dennis Baxley.

“The mere presence of the message that says someone already here is prepared to act if something goes wrong, that's the power. It's not having everybody armed. No educator is being asked to be armed,” said Baxley.

But Senator Perry Thurston who sponsored the amendment hopes Republicans will have a change of heart before the bill comes to a final vote.

“I think that we raised enough issues where the teachers will be concerned about it. Being targeted for the weapons, not getting any additional compensation for this. I just think it's unnecessary, the current system is working,” said Thurston.

The legislation will likely come up for a final vote early next week.

The House has also not taken a vote on the bill. It was temporarily postponed two weeks ago.