Ready for a showdown: Florida Senate school safety bill, including armed teachers

Nearly 14 months after the Parkland school shooting, state senators on Thursday moved toward passing a wide-ranging school safety bill that would include allowing classroom teachers to serve as armed school “guardians.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a rewrite of the proposal to give more flexibility to school districts that want to participate in the controversial guardian program. Other changes Thursday included an expansion of mental-health services in schools that would assist students with suicidal intentions, trauma and violence.

The proposal (SB 7030) is now ready to go to the full Senate as the annual legislative session enters its final three weeks. While Republican leaders are supporting the measure, passage is not expected to happen on a party-line vote.

Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, sided Thursday with Democrats in voting against the bill because of the provision that would allow armed teachers. Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said he could not support the provision but said “maybe I can get there.”

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