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DeSantis weighs in on school safety after report

File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis
File photo of Gov. Ron DeSantis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With a state commission saying classroom teachers should be allowed to be armed “guardians,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday backed the possibility of more school employees being able to carry guns -- while also calling for other steps to avoid mass shootings.

DeSantis told reporters that his upcoming budget proposal will include money for school security and supported allowing trained school employees to be armed.

“In terms of the arming of personnel, what I’ve said is, if you’re somebody who is working at a school and you are somebody who is trained and has the ability to do it, then you shouldn’t be precluded, if you carrying a concealed firearm could potentially deter people from viewing that as a thing,” he said. “But what I would not do is say, Oh, Miss Jones, you want to teach English? Well, do you have a Glock? No. I mean, we should not force anybody to do that.”

DeSantis was responding to a question about a report issued by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which was created last year after the mass shooting in Parkland that killed 17 students and faculty members.

A state law allows school districts to hire armed “guardians” -- school personnel whose primary job duties are outside the classroom -- to supplement school law-enforcement officers.

The commission’s recommendations also included allowing teachers to act as armed guardians, an issue that has been highly controversial.

The issue is expected to be debated during the legislative session that starts March 5.

DeSantis said the state also needs to step up efforts to head off potential attackers who show signs by things they say or post on social media.

DeSantis said if you “read that (commission) report, these people who are doing these things, it’s not like this is happening out of the blue. I know that they’ve worked on some stuff since this, but I want to have a real robust operation where if somebody’s posting something on Facebook or somebody’s saying things like this and they have these problems,” they will be detected.