Shevrin Jones: Responsibility to keep our kids safe

"How about just paying them a salary that matches the massive responsibility they hold to shaping young minds?"

As a former educator in Broward Public Schools and state lawmaker who represents communities in South Florida, I am horrified by some of the legislation moving through Tallahassee this legislative session.

This week, the Florida Legislature is considering HB 7093, a bill set to allow teachers with concealed carry permits to bring guns on school property.

The Aaron Feis Guardian Program allows law enforcement around the state to train guardians to patrol our schools and confront active shooters with lethal force who may target a campus.

This program was created in response to the February 14, 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

After the tragedy in Parkland, Donald Trump and elected officials in the pocket of the NRA called for the arming of teachers as a means to protect our students from gun violence. Never mind the fact that many of our teachers are so woefully underfunded they have to pay for classroom supplies out of their own salary.

Instead of paying fair wages and investing in our kids’ educations, Trump and his allies wanted to solve the problem of too many guns by adding more guns to the equation. Trump even called for teachers to receive bonuses for packing heat in the classroom.

How about just paying them a salary that matches the massive responsibility they hold to shaping young minds?

What’s more, we hear every day about the disproportionate rate of expulsion and punishment for African-American students as opposed to their white counterparts. The school to prison pipeline, as it has been called, means that African Americans are more likely to be put on a path by their educators to head to prison rather than college or a fruitful career.

So many of our teachers do an admirable job educating our students. But there is a definite reality that needs to be confronted in education just as much as it needs to be confronted in every other segment of society — implicit bias.

Implicit bias means that we subconsciously associate black and brown bodies with criminality, with violence, or with dangerousness.

We are conditioned from a young age to implicitly have this bias built on stereotypes and narratives rather than on facts and reality. It is no wonder why black and brown students are so much more likely to be expelled — they are treated from the minute they walk into school with suspicion. Any slip up could mean the end of their educational career.

Having a teacher with a gun makes it all the more likely that these biases won’t just mean the expulsion of a black student, but the death of one. Teachers should not have access to lethal force in the classroom. Period.

Teachers should not be responsible for carrying weapons and patrolling the campuses of students they are tasked with educating. We already ask so much of our teachers and give them so little in return.

The idea of now saddling them with the responsibility of protecting their students with lethal force is unacceptable. Protecting our students is all our responsibility, including the Legislature’s.

Therefore, we need to seriously consider and pass legislation aimed at curbing gun violence — not more laws that will just add to the fear within our schools and public places.

I call on all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in opposing this bill.

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State Rep. Shevrin Jones represents Florida House District 101; Founder of LEAD Nation, one of South Florida’s top youth organizations for leadership development training; and a former AP Chemistry teacher in Broward County Public Schools. Learn more at www.shevrinjones.com.

Guest Author


9 comments

  • gary

    April 4, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    So you are responsible for keeping our children safe? Guess you are not doing well at your job!

    Let’s give the school a fighting chance! Give a gun to well-trained teachers!

  • GWP

    April 4, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Would you please stop putting pictures of people with their finger inside the trigger guard of a firearm on your site. PROMOTE FIREARM SAFETY RULES when showing pictures of firearms. NEVER PUT YOUR FINGER IN SIDE THE TRIGGER GUARD UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO FIRE. You have a responsibility to PROMOTE FIREARM SAFETY ALL THE TIME………. This is not the first time your WEBSITE HAS shown dangerous photos of people with firearms that had their finger on the trigger. PLEASE STOP…….

  • art ubben

    April 5, 2019 at 9:10 am

    really paying attention to weapon safety, finger on the trigger!!!!! you shouldnt be carrying a weapon…

    • Gerald Pollock

      April 5, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Art Ubben, Thank you for telling what I should not be doing, I will continue to depend on my Koran and faith in Allah for protection. Please promote Firearm Safety and follow the rules for Safe handling of firearms when pushing your agenda……

  • Tom James

    April 6, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Jones is your typical whiny liberal black D where everything is racist. Great thing he’s in the minority and has zero power in Tally.

  • Richard Nascak

    April 7, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Can a gun-hater open their mouth without lying? No, they cannot.

    “The idea of now saddling them with the responsibility of protecting their students with lethal force is unacceptable.”

    No one is saddling any teacher. The program is completely voluntary and only available to those with concealed firearms/weapons licenses who already carry when off campus. But let’s not let truth contradict the agenda, right Shevrin?

  • Phillip Evans

    April 8, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Some teachers are retired FBI, police, security, military, etc. Surely they at least should be permitted to be armed if they wish. No?

    Adults with a license to carry ALREADY legally carry in public park playgrounds filled with children, at public festivals filled with children, at theaters filled with children, etc.

    Are schools somehow magic places where being forcibly unarmed keeps you safe in the face of an evil mass murder spree?

  • Daniel Meland

    April 8, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    Never give this woman a gun. She has no idea how to handle it! Her finger is on the trigger, ready to kill a kid.
    If schools choose to be responsible to teach sex, and birth control, what is wrong with teaching how to live and handle guns CORRECTLY!

Comments are closed.


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