The Lee County School District in Florida is considering creating a policy that would permit school staff members to carry a gun on campus. If approved, staff members will be able to enroll in the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program, which was created after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. The program is designed to train armed school staff to assist school police officers in the event of a threat on campus. However, the policy will not be applicable to teachers and other staff members who work in a classroom.
The school district has been considering the program due to an increase in social media threats of violence and weapons in Lee County Schools, as well as swatting, the act of making false calls to emergency services in an attempt to get a large number of law enforcement officers to a specific location. This school year alone, three students at South Fort Myers High School have been arrested for bringing a gun on campus. During the week of Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, two students were arrested, and there were three threats of gun violence in Lee schools.
If the policy is approved, school staff members who wish to participate in the program will need to undergo extensive training provided by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. The training will include 12 hours of diversity training, 132 hours of firearms safety and proficiency training, and a psychological evaluation and drug test. Once approved, participants will need to complete ongoing training, weapon inspection, and firearm qualification annually.