On Tuesday, a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in the classroom was approved by a Florida Senate committee.
On Wednesday, a survivor of the Episcopal School of Jacksonville shooting in 2012, Zach Kindy, says the thought of arming teachers with guns makes his stomach turn.
“My school shooter was a teacher,” said Kindy. “He had gotten fired and came back later that day with an AK-47 in a guitar case and 100 rounds of ammo. He ended up killing our headmaster and himself.”
Kindy was in the seventh grade when police say that 28-year-old Spanish teacher Shane Schumerth walked into the school and shot and killed headmaster Dale Regan before turning the gun on himself.
“Our teacher’s phone started ringing, and he told us to get down and shut off the lights, and the doors were locked,” said Kindy. “We didn’t actually find out what was going on until a couple of hours later when one of my classmates held up her phone crying and was like ‘Our principal’s been shot.’”
He said he believes there may be better alternatives to protecting children in schools.
“Not to say that, like, all teachers are going to be shooters or anything,” said Kindy. “But it’s the fact it can happen, and I don’t think it’s a solution that’s really going to make our schools safer.”
Kindy said these experiences drove him to activism. As executive director for March for Our Lives of Jacksonville, he’s taken his platform to Tallahassee and Washington D.C., where he took part in a “die-in.”
Rather than arming teachers, he believes legislators should work to provide more mental health resources in schools and says this is where the solution lies.
“We don’t have the adequate training or amount of school counselors to be able to effectively deal with that,” said Kindy. “I think we should be having teachers take a mental health first aid class, you know, have the proper kind of training.”
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