Charlotte County schools say more guns in classrooms isn’t the answer

“I think anything to protect our children, I would go for it,” said concerned parent Angela Rossetti.

But for Charlotte County Schools, more guns outside of trained law enforcement isn’t the answer.

“It’s not an active shooter problem, it’s a mental health problem,” said District Spokesman Mike Riley.

Riley says that despite Gov. Scott’s signing a new school safety bill in response to the Parkland shooting, only school resource officers will be allowed to have guns on campus.

“When you look at a law enforcement officer, they’re highly trained. When you look at a SWAT team who goes to answer these things, they’re more trained. I mean our teachers are trained to be teachers,” Riley said.

The School Guardian Provision of the bill sets aside money to train and arm certain school staff members if the local sheriff’s office and district allows it.

“I know nothing has happened yet, but that doesn’t mean something won’t happen,” Rossetti said.

The bill also helps fund “hardening measures” like metal detectors and bullet-proof glass and doors. But the district says the money they’ll get isn’t enough.

“You can’t turn schools into bunkers,” Riley said. “$400 million probably wouldn’t even do Dade County, let alone the other 66 counties.”

Instead, the district will use their share to hire more school psychologists and social workers and add additional school resource officers to high schools and middle schools.

“Reaching them at an early age and helping the children that are troubled and need the help, that’s where the answer lies,” Riley said.

Though some parents feel more should be done.

“Several times I’ve had calls from the school that there’s been a bomb threat, or there’s been a gun threat and it’s scary as a parent thinking anything could happen to my child at any time in school,” Rossetti said. “So it is worrisome these days.”

Reporter:Kristi Gross
Writer:Erica Brown