Lake County School District considers arming teachers with guns

Proposal to be introduced Monday

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter, Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

TAVARES, Fla. - Members of the Lake County School Board will soon consider a proposal that would let teachers and staff have access to a gun on school grounds.

Board member Bill Mathias told News 6 he plans to propose the new rules at the Lake County School Board meeting Monday night during an executive session.

School board member Stephanie Luke said she's open to discussing the proposal and is going into the meeting with an open mind. 

"For me to vote yes or get behind that there would have to be very detailed on how this would look like. What it would entail for teachers. What their liability would be for them. Where would the gun be kept. There's so many details that need to be ironed out," Luke said. 

Mathias proposed a similar plan to the Lake County School Board five years ago.

"Parents are calling me and saying, 'Can you guarantee my child will be safe?'" he said. "You have no idea how much it hurts when you have to say, 'No, I can't guarantee that.'"

News 6 covered explosive debate inside the meeting as teachers and parents voiced strong concern.

"Schools and guns are oxymorons. The two don't go together," teacher Theo Bob said.

Mathias said in 2013, his proposal confronted strong opposition from the teacher's union. 

Stuart Klatte with the Lake County Education Association said if the proposal were to pass it needs to be fully vetted.

One of his concerns with arming teachers is what happens in the midst of an active shooter situation when law enforcement is present. 

"If the police are coming into the building looking for an active shooter and they are in contact with each other so they know their locations and they turn the corner and see an adult standing there with a gun that would be a concern for the safety for the teacher," Klatte said.

If implemented, volunteer staff and teachers would be trained and deputized by the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The gun, Mathias said, would be stored in a biometric-controlled safe inside a classroom. He told News 6 he's hopeful the teacher's union will support his plan.

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