Manatee tables topic of arming teachers

The Manatee County School District tabled the idea of arming teachers in schools, setting up a potentially heated meeting in several weeks.

The district heard from numerous residents, teachers, and students who are opposed to the idea.

A minority of speakers at Tuesday's meetings indicated they are in favor of the idea.

The Parkland Commission recommended arming teachers after studying the school shooting that took 17 lives in 2018, saying it could have saved the lives of students.

At Tuesday's meeting, board members indicated they are concerned about the language in several state bills about how the program would look if the state expanded the guardian program to include teachers. They say it is difficult to pass their own resolution before they know exactly how the state program will look.

Current proposals call for teachers who choose to be in the program to take 144 hours of training and psychological exams.

So far, Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties have said they do not want to arm teachers.

The idea is also getting a cool reception in Pasco and Polk Counties.

Manatee County's school board will take up the proposal again in two weeks.