Manatee County School Board decides against arming their teachers

Manatee County School Board votes 3 - 2 to not arm teachers

BRADENTON (WWSB) - “It was just amazing,” said Makiko Felice with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

For Felice, a mother of two students, and so many others opposed to arming teachers with guns in Manatee County, they got the decision they were waiting for today.

“Teacher needs to teach and students need to learn in a peaceful environment and this is just a great win for all of us, so we’re very happy,” said Felice.

Although all five school board members say they are against giving teachers the option to carry guns, the final vote was 3 to 2 in favor of the resolution to not arm teachers. Dr. Scott Hopes and Gina Messenger were the two board members who voted against the resolution, mainly because they weren’t happy with the language of the resolution.

“I don’t want to send a message that I’m opposing this legislation that actually gives us a choice, because right now we have a choice,” said Messenger.

“We have 61 schools, they’re all different, let’s leave it up to law enforcement to make the recommendations," said Hopes. "Then let’s have a discussion about how we’re going to implement the recommendations.”

Two weeks ago the school board couldn’t make a final decision on this issue, changing the language of the resolution which was voted on this evening.

“As a former classroom teacher, I just know the roles and responsibilities of a teacher and handling a gun, and being responsible for a firearm should not be one of those roles and responsibilities,” said Charlie Kennedy, Board Member for Manatee County Schools.

Manatee County now joins Sarasota County in making a decision not to arm their teachers.

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