Baker County gets state funds for school Guardians


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida's Department of Education announced Thursday that Baker County and four others were awarded grants to begin school Guardian programs.

The Baker County School Board voted in April to use Guardians in addition to having a school resource officer with the Baker County Sheriff's Office at each school.

Nassau and Bradford counties in Northeast Florida already have Guardian programs in their schools. The FDOE said the additional five districts announced Thursday brings the total of schools in the state participating to 30, although the announcement lists Clay and Duval counties among those already participating. That is not consistent with recent checks by News4Jax, so we have asked the state for clarification.

The Guardian program, which allows willing and trained school employees others than teachers to carry guns on campus, was created by the Florida Legislature in 2018 as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. Earlier this year, the Legislature expanded the program to allow teachers to also become guardians.

"The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission report found that having Guardians in schools is the best way to ensure highly trained personnel are in place to respond immediately during a school shooting," said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. "There is nothing more important than the safety of Florida’s students and educators, and I am proud of the sheriffs and school districts who recognized this tremendous opportunity. I hope more counties follow their lead."

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