TALLHASSEE, FL – Governor Rick Scott today signed legislation including various proposals to address gun violence in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Responding to the signing of the legislation, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:
“The State’s legislative response to the terrible and tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was swift, and while state policy-makers’ attempts to experiment with solutions to the complex problems involving guns are laudable, they will lead to unintended consequences.
“We urge local school boards to focus on investing in positive school climates, with programming designed to nurture students’ developing executive functioning skills and identities. Schools should also take full advantage of the bill’s additional resources to improve students’ access to mental health professionals and collaborative efforts with state and local agencies and organizations.
“However, we urge school boards not to accept the Legislature’s dangerous invitation to introduce more guns into Florida schools and classrooms or to further criminalize our students. The practical effect of training and equipping school personnel with handguns to confront a shooter armed with a military-style automatic weapon with a high-capacity magazine will mean that more teachers and students will be killed.
“We also urge school districts to reject efforts to expand school resource officers without defining their roles. Students, especially youth of color, are being arrested at school for misbehavior once handled by school administrators and counselors. Adding more police to our schools will increase these kinds of arrests, robbing children of their futures, and funneling a generation out of the classroom and into a prison cell.
"We hope that Florida superintendents and school boards know better than to introduce more weapons in a space that needs fewer and to turn our children’s schools into fortress prisons. The solution to gun violence is not the introduction of more guns.”