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Feb 14, 2019: Florida high school shooting one year ago sees moves to arm teachers

UNITED STATES - Nikolas Cruz, 19, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb 14, 2018, killing 17 students and staff and injuring 14. One year from the so-called Valentine’s Day shooting, talk of arming teachers is drawing flak.

Cruz had announced his goals in three videos recorded on his cellphone before the shooting. “You’ll all know who I am. You’re all going to die,” he said. Cruz awaits trial on 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and might receive a death sentence.

The Parkland deaths prompted lawmakers in both parties to demand tougher gun laws. President Donald Trump advocated for teachers to be armed, drawing fire from many gun safety advocates, educators and law enforcement experts. The gun laws did not come to pass, and in August, DeVos cleared the way for states to use federal Title IV funding for guns in schools, while stressing that the federal government is not mandating them to do so.

The Trump administration’s new school safety report encourages districts to consider arming school personnel, praises state programmes that arm teachers and suggests that schools could use federal funds to train staff to use firearms. But the report does so quietly, after the idea of arming teachers faced fierce opposition,

The report, which listed more than 90 best practices to prevent mass shootings at schools, places most of its emphasis on long-discussed measures. These include expanded mental health services, a campaign for less media coverage of shooters and improvements to the instant background check system for gun purchases to more funding under the Stop School Violence Act. The group's emphasis is on action at the local level.

The report didn’t specifically call for arming teachers, but noted that was an option that school systems should consider along with arming other administrators and increasing school resource officers.

#22926 Published: 12/24/2018

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