Judge hears arguments in lawsuit over school safety assistants

Suit seeks to block Duval County school safety assistants program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A lawsuit that seeks to block the Duval County school district's school safety assistants program went before a judge on Thursday. 

At Thursday's hearing, the judge heard oral arguments and took them under advisement. No ruling was made.

The lawsuit was filed by three parents, and the League of Women Voters and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence joined the suit. The plaintiffs contend the program may be well-intended, but says the school safety assistants are inadequately trained. The lawsuit contends school safety assistants violate Florida law, which says only police officers are allowed to carry a firearm in schools.

The Duval County School Board has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The school board says the plaintiffs have no legal standing to file suit, and the school safety assistant program does not invade their rights. The school board claims it is immune from the lawsuit because it created the program under the law passed by the Florida Legislature last year, after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland. 

On Thursday, the judge gave plaintiffs until May 6 to file written briefs and then the school board until May 13 to respond. 

About the Authors:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.