‘We think it’s a terrible idea’: South Florida teachers union heads reject calls to arm educators

MIAMI SPRINGS, Fla. – In the wake of yet another school shooting, arming teachers has once again been proposed as a solution to stopping mass murder in American classrooms.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter, Alaina, was killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, tweeted a photo of a sign at a Texas campus warning that its teachers are armed, saying it “should be the attitude at every school in the nation.”

Representatives from South Florida teachers unions, however, think arming teachers isn’t the answer.

“We think it’s a terrible idea,” United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats said.

“They’re not trained in combat, in tactical,” Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco said.

Since the attack at MSD four years ago, Florida has done a lot to try and harden schools, like implementing single points of entry and bringing in more school resource officers.

But both union presidents said putting more guns in classrooms won’t end school shootings.

“We’re teachers, we’re counselors, we’re nurses, we’re talking about mental health, we’re doing so many things and to add this additional pressure of having to protect and act as law enforcement I think it’s just not the solution,” Hernandez-Mats said.

“You want to ban our books? You want to ban us saying ‘gay?’ You want to ban us on having conversations about history? But you don’t want to put your damn money where your mouth is and ban the gun,” Fusco said. “That’s what needs to happen.”

The union presidents pointed out that each time a mass school shooting happens, teachers die shielding their students from gunfire.

They say it’s well past time for legislators to act to do something they believe will force actual change.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.