Florida Gov. Rick Scott Seeks More School Resource Officers in Wake of Shooting
Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott said Friday that any school with more than 1,000 students should have a trained law enforcement officer on staff by this fall, part of a package of proposals in the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17.
Scott also said he would propose banning the sale of guns to those under 21, place metal detectors, bulletproof glass, and steel doors in schools, and hire more mental health counselors. The entire package will cost the state $500 million, according to local reports.
Though President Donald Trump has said that he wants to arm teachers, Scott said he doesn't agree with the idea.
"I disagree with arming teachers," Scott said. "You need law enforcement that is well trained...Let teachers focus on teaching."
According to an Education Week analysis, almost half of Florida's schools already have a school resource officer. But school officials across the country have previously complained that many officers aren't trained to handle student infractions or mass shootings, however. Officials in Florida say the school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas failed to intervene when the shooter entered the building and shot studnets and staff members.
In the shooting's aftermath, a swell of student and teacher protesters have pushed legislators across the country to push for more gun control and school safety. Florida's legislature failed to act on a similar school security measure earlier this week fell flat.
Some of Scott's latest proposals could get pushback in the state from a variety of angles. One state senator already said on Twitter that Scott didn't go far enough:
Instead of listening to students & parents, Gov. Scott's plan bows to the NRA's demands. It does not expand criminal background checks or ban assault rifles, such as the AR-15. Raising the age to 21 is the bare minimum. We need to get these assault rifles off our streets.— Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) February 23, 2018
Other proposals also could run in to opposition from gun rights supporters in a state where the National Rifle Association has considerable power.