Florida lawmakers spar over plan to arm teachers in the classroom

Marshall program is one of several school safety measures up for debate

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas massacre, the Florida senate will vote on a school safety bill on Monday.

Senators hammered out the legislation during a rare special session in Tallahassee Saturday. 

The proposed legislation would raise the minimum age to purchase a gun to 21, impose a three-day waiting period for gun purchases and allow for some teachers to be armed in the classroom on a voluntary basis, known as the school marshal program.

And on “This Week in South Florida” with Michael Putney and Glenna Milberg, we spoke with two Florida House members to get their take on the Senate bill.

 “I do have problems with the marshal program, or arming specifically anyone that’s not law enforcement in a school setting,” said Rep. Robert Asencio, a Kendall Democrat. “We often forget that school safety is a lot more than putting an armed person in an environment.”

State Rep. Jose Oliva, a Miami Lakes Republican and the House speaker-designate, said the arguments against the marshal program have not been consistent. 

“I’m not hearing any concerns about doubling the amount of SROs, school police. No one has a concern about that,” Oliva said. “So there has to be a consistency in how we come to one place. There’s still some ways to go before this bill becomes law."

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