One year after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 innocent lives were lost, there is a Florida Senate bill in the works that will address the issues of school safety and security.
According to the Florida Senate website, the bill will require a “sheriff to establish a school guardian program under a certain condition; requiring school districts to promote a mobile suspicious activity reporting tool through specified mediums…”
However, the bill will also put guns in the hands of teachers in Florida schools as one of the measures of safety and security.
Teachers carrying guns, after they are properly vetted and trained, is something that may prove to be beneficial in the long run. However, if educators are going to be armed with weapons, they should be armed with higher wages as well.
SB7030, as the bill is known, will allow teachers to volunteer to carry their weapons on school grounds and from that point, they will go through an extensive screening and training process to ensure safety.
Arming teachers may be a divisive and polarizing topic of conversation, but it is one that is taking another step to ensure that events like the Parkland shooting do not happen again.
According to the Florida Department of Education, the median salary for a teacher in Florida is $48,179.
However, in a report by USA Today, Florida ranks as No. 42 out of all 50 states in terms of highest average salary for public school educators.
If we are going to ask our teachers to take their jobs to the next level and protect their students by way of a firearm in an emergency situation, then it is reasonable to expect that these very educators should have an immediate increase in their yearly salary as well.
Teachers are already responsible for the intellectual future of our nation’s youth, now they could be tasked with the physical well-being too.
Taking yet another step to promote the safety and security of students while they are at school is great. Students have the right to go to school and be able to put their full attention on their coursework rather than having to worry about their welfare. To that same point, teachers should be able to put their full attention into their lectures and course plans.
If arming teachers is one step to do that, if nothing else but to act as a deterrent to would-be shooters, then so be it. But adding yet another line to our teacher’s job descriptions without including an adequate raise in pay as well is unfair and widely harmful to the recruitment of positions that are already increasingly difficult to fill.
Jesse Stokes is a junior majoring in political science.