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DOE's Stewart Gives Take On Teachers Carrying Guns In Schools

Sascha Cordner

Following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, the topic of how to prevent such a tragedy from happening at other schools around the country has been the source of national, state, and community discussions.

Possible solutions include gun control legislation, while others want to expand the state’s rules to allow teachers to carry guns in schools. But, the current head of Florida’s education system says she’s not sure that’s a good idea.

Florida’s Interim Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says she does not know if there’s one right answer for how to keep children safe in schools, and she says it’s a conversation worth having. But, when it comes to allowing teachers to carry guns in schools, she says that may be going a little too far.

“It would not be something that I would be in favor of, certainly not without strong training, and I worry what would happen as a result of people in schools with guns other than resource officers,” said Stewart.

Some critics have questioned what kind of example teachers would be setting if they did start carrying guns to schools. But, Stewart says that’s not something she can decide.

“Yeah, that’s probably a society kind of questions where we as a nation will have to take a serious look at that,” said Stewart.

Other solutions states, including Florida, are looking into include stepping up the number of resource officers at schools. There’s already a movement underway for school districts to ask the Florida Legislature for an increase in school security funding during this year’s legislative session.

Florida is currently spending about $70 million dollars on school security measures, which includes money for officers at schools. The state’s school districts are expected to ask state lawmakers for more than $100 million dollars this year.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.