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House panel approves school bill allowing arming of teachers

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Posted at 11:17 AM, Mar 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 11:17:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida House committee has passed a broad school safety bill that would expand an existing guardian program to allow classroom teachers to volunteer to carry weapons on campus if local school boards approve.

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The legislation adopted Thursday by the House Education Committee builds on a law passed after last year's shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Teachers would not be required to carry guns, but those who volunteer would have to undergo 144 hours of firearms training, possess a valid concealed weapon permit and pass both a psychological evaluation and drug test.

Proponents say the measure would make schools safer. Opponents, including major teacher unions, say educators should not be taking the place of trained law enforcement personnel in schools.