Social justice groups: Don't arm Florida schoolteachers

April 2, 2013 

Four social justice organizations are speaking out against proposed legislation that would allow some classroom teachers to carry weapons on campus.

The NAACP, the Advancement Project, the Dream Defenders and the Miami-based Power U Center for Social Change also oppose any bills calling for zero-tolerance policies in public schools. They believe the overly punitive policies would cause more students to drop out.

"These measures ultimately will not keep children safe," said Dr. Shirley Johnson, of the Florida State Conference on the NAACP. "Instead, they will lead to unintended consequences."

Alana Greer, of the Advancement Project, urged lawmakers and schools to take "a long-term holistic approach" to school security. That could include hiring more psychologists and counselors, promoting non-violent activities, and considering research-based alternatives to traditional methods of student discipline.

Allowing teachers to carry weapons, Greer said, would erode the trust between students and schools employees, and stifle the "flow of information that can prevent violence on campus."

Last week, a House committee passed a proposal by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, that would let principals designate certain teachers and school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus. Principals choosing not to arm an employee would have to hire a separate safety officer.

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