Florida school board just delivered first major victory to Parkland shooting survivors

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Survivors   1
National Rifle Association and their GOP enablers   0

That’s what the scoreboard currently reads after the first real victory on gun control following last month’s massacre in Parkland, Florida.  The small but symbolic victory came from across the state in Tampa, where the Hillsborough County school board squashed any attempt to arm educators and school staff in a dramatic vote Tuesday.

“I feel like we need to take a stand with our students, families and teachers,” Cindy Stuart, a member of the board, said before introducing the motion. “It is wrong arming anyone other than law enforcement on our campus.”

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The Tampa Bay Times characterized today’s milestone this way:

Stuart’s motion, which acknowledges that the proposed ‘marshal plan’ amendment to a gun control bill would allow county sheriffs and and school officials to decide if they wanted to opt in, also makes it clear that Hillsborough school officials have no intention of taking part in the program to arm school employees, so that point is moot. 

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Just as the Tampa area school board was exhibiting real courage by standing up to the NRA and standing with Parkland students, however, state lawmakers in Tallahassee were bowing in submission.  A bill advanced through the Florida state legislature Tuesday that opens the door to arming school officials, including potentially some teachers.

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The NRA has called for more guns on campuses as part of its inane ‘hardening schools’  rhetoric following the Parkland massacre.  They also blame ‘mental illness’ for the school shooting, though no one quite knows what that means exactly.

It’s unclear how the bill will affect today’s decision by the Hillsborough County School Board, were Governor Rick Scott to sign it into law.  For today, however, it’s a hugely symbolic win for the survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School.

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Peter Mellado

Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.

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