ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida’s Education Commissioner is making some surprising statements about arming teachers. Richard Corcoran said he believes there will be one in every public school in 10 years.
Corcoran was a speaker at the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition meeting on Sept. 9. In addition to showing his support for arming teachers, he also suggested doing away with school resource officers.
News4Jax's sister station in Orlando, WKMG, obtained the audio minutes taken during the Central Florida Public School Boards Coalition meeting earlier this month.
"In 10 years, every single school in the state of Florida will have guardian teachers," Corcoran said. "It's coming. It's going to happen. It's volunteer. It's the safest, most absolute best outcome practices that you can have."
Richard Corcoran’s comments come as the Sunshine State prepares to expand its Guardian Program on starting Oct. 1.
"The guardian program - not only is it the safest way to protect kids because you're going to have seven of them, five of them, 10 of them in the school system -- it's the cheapest," he said. "It doesn't cost any money. It's completely, one hundred percent paid for."
The Florida Education Association, which represents 140,000 educators across the state, disagreed with Corcoran.
"The commissioner is wrong on teacher bonuses, he's wrong on evaluating teachers through the value-added model, and he's wrong on school security, too," said the group's president Fedrick Ingram to WKMG.
Armed school guardians include school employees who volunteer to serve in addition to their regular duties and personnel hired specifically to serve as a school guardian. Currently, 36 school districts participate in the Guardian Program. According to the director of the Office of Safe Schools, 11 of those 36 districts have expressed interest in arming classroom teachers.