August 17, 2022

Parkland teacher who volunteered to pack heat at school just left loaded gun in a bathroom

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A science teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High just proved why Florida’s new NRA sponsored law to arm teachers, librarians, and lunch ladies is a terrible idea. (video below)


Parkland chemistry teacher Sean Simpson got arrested this past weekend for failing to safely store a firearm after leaving his gun in the men’s room of a bar. Ironically, Simpson supported Trump’s plan to arm teachers in the wake of the Parkland massacre, which he survived, while unarmed.

A drunken, homeless Florida man found Simpson’s gun and recklessly discharged the firearm before the teacher wrestled the weapon away from Joseph Spataro. Spataro, too, was arrested for drunken discharge of the Glock and trespassing. Miami’s ABC station Local 10 reports:

“There was a reasonable likelihood that the firearm could have ended up in the hands of a child or the discharge of the firearm could have wounded another person or child,” deputies wrote in the arrest report.

Spataro, who told deputies he’d fired the gun to see whether it was loaded, was charged with trespassing and firing a weapon while intoxicated. The bullet fortunately did not strike anyone and was later found inside the concrete block structure by deputies, who were alerted to the situation by a witness running from the scene.

Florida’s legislature reacted to the Parkland shooting by passing some useful gun reforms, like raising the age of purchase, waiting periods on military-style AR-15 weapons and a “red flags” law.

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However, the NRA-backed Republican majority in Florida’s legislature forced a law down the survivors’ throats along with the reforms, which calls for arming everyone in schools who are not teaching 100% of their work time on school campuses. Simpson spoke in support of that Trump-backed idea publicly, according to Local10’s investigative reporter Bob Norman:

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“I know there are some of us that are willing to take the training if it was offered and probably be another line of defense,” he said. “But again that is a complicated subject and I’m not sure if it’s the answer. I think it’s easier to get these types of weapons out of the hands of people that aren’t meant to do anything but kill.”

Known as the “Aaron Feis guardian program,” Florida’s absurd new law is bound to cause deaths or injuries somewhere in the state, though heavy lobbying by Parkland students at least achieved the modest success of making it up to each of the state’s 67 school districts to opt-in to the program. State GOP lawmakers had pulled a bait and switch trying to make it a mandatory program, call floods and protests forced them to make it optional.

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The Broward school district, which includes Parkland, wisely opted out of the Republican legislature’s program.

Luckily, this means that local students will be spared the loss of their life or limbs at the negligent hands of Sean Simpson because his story clearly demonstrates how putting more firearms in the hands of teachers isn’t a solution to any problem.

But arming teachers, janitors, and wrestling coaches promise to create new and unsolvable problems for schools and students that are best prevented by having fewer guns in fewer hands.

Watch Local10’s entire investigative report here: 

Grant Stern

Editor at Large

is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also a mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, an unpaid senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition, and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.

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