Proposed Pasco policy clarifies school guardian rule

School Board members have opposed allowing teachers to participate by carrying guns in classrooms.
The Pasco County School Board [Times photo | 2018]
The Pasco County School Board [Times photo | 2018]
Published July 17, 2019

Pasco County school district leaders made clear from the start their opposition to letting teachers carry guns in schools as part of Florida’s guardian program.

They never went so far as to adopt a resolution stating their position, though, unlike many other districts.

But now, the School Board appears poised to approve a policy that would cement the idea into district rule.

The update to Policy 8407, which appears on the board’s Tuesday agenda, restates the role of guardians in preventing or abating an active assailant incidents. It adds language directly afterward, asserting that “a District employee who is hired for the specific purpose of serving as a school guardian is authorized to serve in that capacity.”

Teachers, of course, are not hired for that role. Quite the opposite, the board created a new position of security guard with no other responsibilities, to perform in that capacity.

Board chairwoman Alison Crumbley, a vocal opponent of having armed teachers, said she supported any district effort to keep the guard role professional, and in the hands of experts such as retired police officers.

She was not sure, though, whether the policy proposal was clear enough. Some officials read it to say that school guardians were responsible only for monitoring and protecting schools, Crumbley said, while others viewed it as stating that only guardians could have such authority.

“We need some board discussion on this,” she said. “I want to make sure all board members are crystal clear on the meaning.”

The item is up for final adoption at the board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday.