New law lets Hendry County teachers carry guns if they had training

Reporter: Taylor Petras
Published: Updated:
Teachers at a shooting range. (Credit: WINK News)
Teachers at a shooting range. (Credit: WINK News)

A law enacted after the Parkland High School shooting in 2018 expands on Tuesday. Some teachers can now carry guns at Florida schools. Hendry County is the only school district in Southwest Florida where that can happen.

Outside of all Hendry County school buildings, new fences are lining the property. While trained, armed school employees work as guardians inside, an extra layer of protection against an active shooter is allowed by law in response to the Parkland massacre.

Hendry County is the only school district in Southwest Florida to participate in the Guardian Program. Right now, 10 school employees have completed the training to carry a gun on campus.

Paul Puletti, superintendent of schools in Hendry County, said the employees had been trained just as well as school resource officers.

Puletti and the school board have the option to include teachers in the program. “We as a district have not made that decision yet,” he said. However, the superintendent told WINK News teachers are interested.

Rushia Osby, a retired teacher, said she would have done it.

“If the teachers are properly trained and it would give extra support and security for the children’s safety and for the safety of everyone involved,” Osby said, “I’m for it.”

Parents we spoke with said they support their child’s teacher carrying a firearm in the classroom.

“The kids might need the teachers to look out for them on them in case someone comes in with guns,” said a Clewiston parent, Cindrette Smith.

“I would want her to try to fire back and protect kids and try to save as many kids as she can,” said Joeann Alaniz, who has children in the Hendry County school system.

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