Volusia County School Board talks guns on campus

'Teachers are supposed to teach, not to play games with guns,' resident says

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DeLAND, Fla. - It was a full house at the Volusia County School Board meeting Tuesday night, where members discussed school safety, including arming teachers with guns.

People from differing political parties showed up in full force ahead of the meeting, including Danielle Neetz, donning a Democrat-blue T-shirt.

"It's wrong. Teachers are supposed to teach not to play games with guns," Danielle Neetz said.

Republicans also filled up the room, voicing their opinion on guns in classrooms.

"This is not a gun issue. Guns don't kill people. People kill people," said Tony Ledbetter, chairman of the Volusia County Republican Party.

Ledbetter said he backs the school board 100 percent and wants to have additional security, that also includes giving teachers guns.

"We're here because the Republican Party has the right to make sure that everybody understands that we believe in the Second Amendment. If the Republican Party was in charge of Broward County, I can pretty much assure you, this would have never happened," Ledbetter said.

The chairman of the Volusia County Democratic Party said he believes otherwise.

"I'm a retired educator, teacher and administrator and I just don't think guns have a place in the classroom," Jewel Dickson said.

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he believes politics should be left out of the school safety discussion. Chitwood said at the end of the day, everyone has the same goal, and it's to keep students and staff safe. If arming teachers will do that, he's all for it.

"It's voluntary. Let the school board vet them, let us go through a psychological exam and train them because at the end of the day, it is going to be impossible for me to put a deputy in every single school in Volusia County and sustain that," Chitwood said.

The sheriff also said it could cost $9.7 million to staff the schools with resource officers and it would be difficult to find and train them, all before the next school year begins.

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