Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gun safety course offered free to Hillsborough teachers

TAMPA — They came by the hundreds when Lenny Bogdanos taught gun safety to Pinellas County public school teachers.

Now Hillsborough County schoolteachers are signing up for a similar class on March 30.

Bogdanos, who runs a security company in Clearwater and works as a bodyguard, insisted, "I'm not advocating for educators to have guns."

But clearly he's responding to a number of scenarios now under discussion in the Legislature, said April Griffin, chairwoman of the Hillsborough School Board.

"This, to me, is a ludicrous conversation to have," she said. "We need to be talking about less guns in the schools and not more."

Bogdanos' company, International Executive Protection, is waiving its customary $75 class fee to teachers with valid school identification.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at a lodge in Safety Harbor, they'll learn about the laws that govern concealed carry permits and how to differentiate between different kinds of guns and how to handle them. They'll get to fire guns too, Bogdanos said.

Bogdanos said the course meets the requirements for those who want state carry permits. He has room for 100 participants, he said.

After the class for Pinellas teachers, he said he received a flood of requests from those in Hillsborough. "Word spread so much, it went viral."

Teachers are curious, he said. They may or may not choose to bring their weapons to school, and the law might never allow it.

But, he said, "we do want them to be better informed and trained."

Bills introduced in this year's session include one that would allow school districts to levy taxes to pay for security upgrades and one that would let superintendents and principals designate school employees to carry concealed weapons.

In Hillsborough, a consultant is working with district officials to design a comprehensive security plan. An early attempt to place armed officers in all of the district's schools was voted down by the School Board in January.

Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, has been watching the situation intently.

"We certainly do have concerns about the wholesale arming of teachers," he said.

He contends that trained resource officers, who represent a collaboration between law enforcement and education, are the optimal model if schools feel that they need protection.

But he is troubled by efforts to find more economical solutions, such as contracting with security firms through competitive bidding.

"Sometimes, you get what you pay for," he said.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or

Gun lessons

The class will be held March 30 at the Safety Harbor VFW Post No. 10093 at 965 Harbor Lake Court, Safety Harbor. Participants must register in advance at

Gun safety course offered free to Hillsborough teachers 03/17/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 17, 2013 10:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New Safety Harbor post office will be on McMullen-Booth Road

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — Although a move-in date is months away, representatives for the U.S. Postal Service recently signed the lease for the city's new post office.

    In June of next year a new post office will open at the site of a former Fifth Third Bank branch at 1703 N  McMullen Booth Road, Safety Harbor.
  2. Former owner of Sirata Beach Resort purchases two Tampa Bay shopping centers

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — After selling the Sirata Beach Resort and Conference in February, Nicklaus of Florida, Inc., has purchased two Tampa Bay shopping centers to diversify the firm's portfolio in the area. Colliers International, representing the sellers, announced the transaction this week.

    Sirata Beach Resort and Conference Center, one of Tampa Bay's last family-owned beach hotels, was sold to a Texas-based company, Crescent Real Estate LLC for $108.19 million. [LARA CERRI | Times]
  3. Shania Twain arena tour includes Tampa stop this time


    Shania Twain is coming to Tampa as part of a major U.S. tour in support of her forthcoming (and long-awaited) new album Now.

    Shania Twain will play Amalie Arena in Tampa in 2018.
  4. In one day, fundraisers appear to reach goal to move Confederate monument from downtown Tampa


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners gave an ultimatum Wednesday to people who want to move a Confederate monument from downtown Tampa: Raise the money yourselves or it stays. They had 30 days.

    It took 24 hours.

    Private money is flowing in to help move the Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument from the old county courthouse to a private family cemetery. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Who are the antifa?


    On Monday, President Donald Trump capitulated to the popular demand that he distance himself from his comment that "many sides" were to blame in Charlottesville by explicitly denouncing white nationalism. "Racism is evil," he appeared to grudgingly concede, "including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists."

    A group of counterprotesters who identified themselves as antifa, or anti-fascists, rest Saturday during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va. Counterprotesters in Charlottesville came united against white supremacy, but they advocated a wide array of beliefs, tactics and goals. [Edu Bayer | New York Times]