15-year-old with gun at school arrested
Sheriff, superintendent call for resource officers at every school in Florida
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A 15-year-old Leon High School student in Tallahassee was arrested Thursday by a school resource officer and charged with bringing an unloaded gun to campus.
Investigators said the weapon was to be sold after school. It was seen by another student who reported it to a teacher and resource officer.
While some in Florida are calling for arming teachers in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting tragedy, Gov. Rick Scott is being asked to fund school resource officers at every school.
School resource officers have been on high school campuses in Tallahassee since 1981.
"Having a sworn law enforcement officer on campus today made it go even better," Leon High Principal Bobby Epting said of Thursday's arrest. "Obviously, he was here and has the expertise to handle the situation."
Now the Leon County sheriff and school superintendent want the governor to fund resource officers at every school in the state rather than arm teachers. Sheriff Larry Campbell says guns don't belong in the hands of the inexperienced.
"The number of hours that we put in the course of a career makes the law enforcement officer far superior than some civilian that says I know how to use a weapon," Campbell said.
Experts say there is a parallel about the security that was once needed in courthouses and is now needed in schools.
Security was haphazard at Florida courthouses until a judge was shot and killed during a messy divorce. Now, many state lawmakers say a comprehensive review of school security is needed.
"Where we are, how we got to where we are, and what changes we need to make," said state Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee. "This is a serious issue. This is an American tragedy. Our children shouldn't have to go to school being afraid."
Lawmakers will take the first steps at improving school safety at committee hearings in January.
Schools have been required to have a safety plan since 2001. Scott has ordered the Department of Education to review and enhance plans with individual districts.
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