Florida Senate Bill 7030 — which would allow classroom teachers in Florida to be armed if their district approves — is headed to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis, but Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins won’t have teachers packing heat under his watch.
“I want to be very clear, teachers in Hillsborough County Public Schools will NOT carry weapons,” he said in a statement. In order for teachers and staff to be armed in any school, the school district would have to opt into a year-old “guardian” program.
“WE HAVE NO PLANS TO OPT-IN,” Eakins added, in all-caps.
The district has been resisting arming teachers since Senate Bill 7026 passed in 2018. That’s when Hillsborough school officials met with sheriff and police officials and made it very clear that school board members oppose arming teachers.
“Our stance has not changed,” Eakins wrote.
The statement adds that Hillsborough Schools Security Services Chief John Newman has hired an additional 210 security officers over the past year to staff every elementary school, charter school and ESE centers. Officers and deputies from local law agencies already protect middle and high schools, according to the statement, which you can see in full below.
Statement from Supt. Eakins: "I want to be very clear, teachers in Hillsborough County Public Schools will NOT carry weapons." Read more: pic.twitter.com/w78sz1sJqB— Hillsborough Schools (@HillsboroughSch) May 2, 2019
Update: Pinellas County School Superintendent Michael A. Grego and School Board Chair Reno Flowers released a similar statement saying that their teachers will also not be armed.
A note from Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Michael A. Grego and School Board Chair Rene Flowers. pic.twitter.com/wydRmvepLK— Pinellas County Schools (@my_pcs) May 2, 2019