school entrance

Number of Teachers Allowed To Carry Guns in Florida Schools Remains Unknown

Some lawmakers say they are not concerned with knowing how many educators are participating in the school guardian program, and just with the number of districts who have opted in.

The number of teachers who are licensed to carry guns in Florida schools is still unknown, and Republican lawmakers who championed legislation for school guardians say they do not need to know statewide statistics.

State Sen. Kelli Stargel, who serves as charwoman of the Senate’s education budget-writing committee, told The News Service of Florida that keeping track of the numbers, and how the guardian program has been rolled out across the state, is not a top concern for her.

“I am not worried if they are a classroom teacher or not,” Stargel told a reporter. “In fact, I think the more anonymous the better.”

While the school guardian program has existed since 2018, an expansion of the program allowing teachers to participate was approved by the Republican-held legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year.

The Florida Department of Education defines guardians as “armed personnel who aid in the prevention or abatement of active assailant incidents on school premises.” Guardians can be school employees who volunteer for the position or personnel hired specifically to act as school security. All guardians must pass psychological and drug screenings as well as complete at least 144 hours of training.

Stargel said that the information about where guardians are located should be confidential because not knowing whether or not someone carries a weapon on campus is a deterrent to shooters.

Other Republican lawmakers in the state agreed, saying that it is more important to know the number of districts who have opted into the program rather than specific school campuses. The Florida department of education says that 38 of 67 school districts participate in the guardian program, but does not specify if teachers are armed. That information is confidential under a law that exempts “security and fire safety system plans” from being a public record.

State Sen. Janet Cruz, a Democrat, said that she believes the information is not publicized or maintained because it would show that the teacher guardian program is a “failure.”

“Leadership wants to make sure that they don’t have to admit that this program is a failure,” Cruz said.

The guardian program is still new and the governor’s office wants to offer time to “best accommodate school districts and sheriff offices,” according to Helen Ferre, a spokeswoman for the governor.

“The guardian funds are not sitting idle, applications continue to roll in and are being processed,” Ferre said.

About the Author

Haley Samsel is an Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.


  • Buffalo Public School District Modernizes Security With New Cameras NVRs

    i-PRO Co., Ltd. (formerly Panasonic Security), a provider of professional security solutions for surveillance and public safety, recently announced that the Buffalo Public School District (BPSD) has modernized its security footprint with i-PRO multi-sensor and 360° fisheye network cameras, and i-PRO NV300 network video recorders (NVR). The BPSD serves 28,000 K-12 students out of 70 facilities in western New York. Read Now

  • Lessons Learned from Past School Shootings

    Two experts are working together and collaborating on new ways school campuses can develop a proactive and comprehensive security plan. For three consecutive years, the U.S has had a record-high number of school shootings resulting in a repetitive cycle of grievances, anger, and frustration. The U.S. had 344 school shootings in 2023 which surpassed the record-breaking number of 308 school shootings in 2022 as reported by K-12 School Shooting Database. Read Now

  • Mother of Michigan School Shooter Found Guilty on Four Counts of Involuntary Manslaughter

    The mother of the teenager who killed four students in an Oxford, Michigan school has been found guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter because of the shooting. That’s according to a report from CNN. Read Now

  • Utah State Legislature Funds Gun Detection Technology and Incident Management System in All Public K-12 Schools

    ZeroEyes, the creators of the only AI-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the US Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation, and AEGIX Global, a Utah-based provider of industry-leading critical incident management services, recently announced that the Utah State Board of Education has approved a contract to provide the joint solution for all Utah public K-12 schools, including charter schools. Read Now