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AACTE Statement on Florida Bill HB 7093

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone issued the following statement today responding to the passage of HB 7093 through the Florida legislature:

“While it is in the purview of states to determine paths forward on school safety that protect students and teachers, the passage of this particular bill in Florida is disconcerting at best.

In particular, after Parkland, Florida enacted a law that created an optional program to have armed ‘guardians’ on school campuses, but explicitly prohibited teachers engaged in classroom instruction from being a guardian, with limited, focused exceptions. HB 7093 eliminates this prohibition, opening the door for classroom teachers to be armed. Expanding what was already a controversial policy is the wrong path toward ensuring the safety of all students and staff on school campuses.

According to the Giffords website, “There have been more than 60 publicly-reported incidents of mishandled guns at schools in the last five years.” Our nation’s children should feel safe in their schools and in their classrooms; arming teachers will not ensure students’ safety or that students feel safe in their classrooms and are ready to learn. It is imperative that any solution keep the role of our educators front and center, and focus on maintaining the environments necessary for successful teaching and learning.

AACTE will continue to advocate for the preservation of safe learning environments for every child and educator in cooperation with local authorities who are specifically trained to protect and serve our communities.”

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