Commission OKs recommendation to arm teachers in Fla.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – The commission investigating a shooting massacre at a Florida high school unanimously approved its initial findings and recommendations Wednesday, including a controversial proposal that teachers who volunteer and undergo training be allowed to carry guns.
The 15-member Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission’s 446-page report details what members believe happened before, during and after the Feb. 14 shooting attack that left 14 students and three staff members dead and 17 wounded.
The report, which the commission sent to Gov. Rick Scott, incoming governor Ron DeSantis and the Legislature, is also critical of the Broward County sheriff’s deputies who failed to confront suspect Nikolas Cruz, and of Sheriff Scott Israel, whose office did not at the time have a policy requiring them to rush the three-story freshman building where the shooting happened. Israel’s critics hope the report will result in DeSantis suspending Israel shortly after the new governor takes office Tuesday. Israel has said that he has done nothing to warrant his removal.
The report also details failures in the county school district’s security program that members believe allowed Cruz, a former student known to have serious emotional and behavioral problems, to enter campus while carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in a bag.
Even since the shooting, not all Florida school districts and campuses have been taking security seriously, the report says, noting that several districts have been slow to complete mandated reviews of their safety plans and procedures.
“Safety and security accountability is lacking in schools, and that accountability is paramount for effective change if we expect a different result in the future than what occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas,” the report says.
Among the panel’s chief findings and recommendations:
■ State law should be changed to allow teachers who pass an intense training program and background check to carry concealed weapons on campus.
■ Deputy Scot Peterson, the long-time school resource officer assigned to Stoneman Douglas, “was derelict in his duty” by not entering the freshman building and confronting Cruz.