I frequently am asked about arming school staff and whether or not it is a good idea for improving school safety. As part of our work on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, we developed critical recommendations to improve school safety and protect students and teachers. But let’s save that discussion for another time.
In the words of my good friend Sheriff Grady Judd of Polk County Florida, “when seconds count, minutes don’t matter” and that’s why the Florida Legislature created the Aaron Feis Guardian program.
Here are the requirements for any school staff member to become an armed campus guardian in the State of Florida. Currently, these requirements surpass the training required for School Resource Officers (certified law enforcement officers) assigned to schools.
Aaron Feis Guardian Program Requirements
- Hold a valid license issued under s.790.06. (concealed firearms license / must have passed a background check)
- Complete 132 total hours of comprehensive firearm safety and proficiency training conducted by Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission-certified instructors, which must include:
- Eighty hours of firearms instruction based on the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission’s Law Enforcement Academy training model, which must include at least 10 percent but no more than 20 percent more rounds fired than associated with academy training. Program participants must achieve an 85 percent pass rate on the firearms training.
- Sixteen hours of instruction in precision pistol.
- Eight hours of discretionary shooting instruction using state-of-the-art simulator exercises.
- Eight hours of instruction in defensive tactics.
- Twelve hours of instruction in legal issues.
- Eight hours of instruction in active shooter or assailant scenarios.
- Pass a psychological evaluation administered by a psychologist licensed under chapter 490 and designated by the Department of Law Enforcement and submit the results of the evaluation to the sheriff’s office. The Department of Law Enforcement is authorized to provide the sheriff’s office with mental health and substance abuse data for compliance with this paragraph.
- Submit to and pass an initial drug test and subsequent random drug tests in accordance with the requirements of s.112.0455 and the sheriff’s office.
- Successfully complete ongoing training, weapon inspection, and firearm qualification on at least an annual basis.
- Successfully complete at least 12 hours of a certified nationally recognized diversity training program.