School board member wants board to support ban on assault weapons

Pinellas County School Board member Linda Lerner is in her seventh term. [Times | 2015]
Pinellas County School Board member Linda Lerner is in her seventh term. [Times | 2015]
Published Feb. 20, 2018

Veteran School Board member Linda Lerner wants Pinellas County to be the first board to take an official board stance supporting a ban on assault weapons.

The request came at a board workshop Tuesday almost a week after a former student killed 17 and injured more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Broward County. She wants to hold a vote on the one-sentence stance at a board meeting next week and encourage other school boards in Florida to do the same.

"I think this board has the opportunity to take the leadership simply to say we support a ban on assault weapons. Period," she said. "It's not anti-gun, it's anti-massacre agenda, that's where I am."

Board members vote on items introduced by the school superintendent at school board meetings, however School Board attorney David Koperski said the district cannot tell a board member to refrain from walking in an item for a vote.

Lerner said she did not want to set a precedent of adding items to the agenda that were not recommended by the superintendent, calling this a "special situation."

"If there ever was a time for elected school board members to take a stand, it's right now," she said. "Let's be the first ones. This is a no-brainer, in my opinion."

Board member Peggy O'Shea noted that the vote would be timely since the Florida Legislature is currently in session.

"If you want to bring this forward, I believe you have to do it now," she said. "There's reason to do it now, not wait."