VIERA, Florida — Following a five-hour-long School Board meeting where dozens of red-shirted gun opponents spoke against arming school staff, the Brevard County School Board decided on Tuesday to hear more from BPS staff and families before deciding on a proposal to arm staff guardians who could stop school shooters.
The board’s listening process will include surveys, staff meetings, and a series of 90-minute town-hall meetings for the public across the Space Coast. The board tentatively will vote on the proposal May 8.
Public town-hall sessions will take place at the following locations:
Tuesday, April 24
Palm Bay High
7- 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 1
7- 8:30 p.m.
Monday, May 7
Jackson Middle, Titusville
7- 8:30 p.m.
The school board meeting Tuesday April 17 drew a large, organized crowd and dozens of passionate speakers over 5 ½ hours. Residents who wish to speak during the 90-minute public town hall meetings, should keep in mind:
Speakers will each receive up to three minutes to present their questions or comments.
In case of large crowds, not everyone who signs up will get an opportunity to speak within the scheduled 90 minutes. Another opportunity to speak will be provided at the school board meeting on May 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Educational Support Facility in Viera, Florida.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, BPS surveyed district employees to gauge their eligibility and willingness to participate in the guardian program.
It received 1,780 responses from all types of staff from Friday through Monday. The 707 responses from eligible administrators, support staff and other school-based professionals (those who do not work as classroom teachers) indicated a high enough level of volunteerism to field an initial class of guardian trainees, if the board chooses to proceed.
Next, an additional survey will measure how many people support, oppose or are undecided about the proposed guardian program. School board members plan to consider these results when making their decision.
The proposed armed-guardian program was enabled by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act, which lawmakers intended to make Florida schools safer. If approved, the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program would be one of four layers of school protection implemented at Brevard Public Schools.
A video by Sheriff Wayne Ivey, who runs school district security, explains the four-pronged strategy which includes:
Education, awareness and the STAR intervention program (Success Through Awareness and Restoration).
Hardening of facilities with fencing and security equipment.
More school resource officers.
The armed-guardian program, which Ivey named the Sheriff-Trained On-Site Marshal Program (STOMP).