BARTOW, Fla. — In light of the Parkland school shooting, schools around the country are talking safety.
Tuesday, Polk County School Board members got into a heated discussion about the Guardian Program, passed by new legislation last week.
Members were not fans of Sheriff Grady Judd’s idea of training teachers to face mass shooters.
At times, certain school board members even went head to head with the sheriff, attacking his beliefs.
The meeting did start out calm, with Sheriff Judd pitching the Guardian Program to the board, showing that the highly trained arm staff would be required to pass psychological tests, complete 144 hours of training specific to fighting a shooter and also scoring high on accuracy tests.
The sheriff went on to show the board a prepared budget that implied school resource officers would cost the district millions, more than 12 million in just the first year. One school members said all they have to put towards school safety a year is roughly four million dollars.
Comparatively, training guardians would only cost $3,000 per teacher or staff and would allow the district to have more bodies in the schools that are armed.
A parent from Parkland, who lost his teenage daughter in last months shooting, showed up to the Polk County School Board to explain his stance on trained teachers with guns.
“I could only tell them my experience and what I think, and what they should do, and once I tell them that, I did my part. If they are going to ignore it, then if something happens it’s on them and not on me,” Andrew Pollack said. Pollack’s daughter was shot nine times in the Parkland school shooting.
But the majority of school board members seemed hesitant to the idea of letting guns on campus.
Including Billy Townsend, who went head-to-head with Sheriff Judd, even going as far as asking the long-time sheriff if he is an NRA member.
“There are a lot of people who don’t think like you. You represent a big and changing county.
And with respect, I don’t think you represented them well this time. You didn’t consider what they were thinking, you didn’t ask them, and I would encourage you to think differently.” Townsend said.
The superintendent, Jaqueline Byrd, who is openly against arming teachers in Polk County Schools would not comment on the matter. A spokesperson for the school now saying it is in the school boards hands to decide how to move forward.