• Discussion of armed officials, teachers inside Jacksonville area schools

    By: Russell Colburn , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    Some administrators are already carrying guns inside local schools.

    Wednesday, Action News Jax told you about Putnam County's plan to arm faculty and staff.

    Thursday, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon said his county adopted a similar plan eight years ago, and they’ve been arming administrators ever since.

    Smith said since the inception of the program, they’ve had zero incidents.

    “You can’t face a bad guy with a gun and have nothing to respond with,” Smith said.  “Sometimes running is not an option, hiding is not an option, and you have to confront evil. And that’s what they’re there for.”

    Thursday, Smith attended a school safety talk with Congressman Ted Yoho.

    “Honestly, I think it’d be a great idea for all staff to be armed just to keep our children protected,” said parent Jessica Whitaker.

    Smith acknowledged this wouldn't work for every county, so he says the decision should be made at the local level.

    St. Johns County Superintendent Tim Forson said he won't be pushing for it.

    “That’s not any expectation of a teacher,” Forson said.  “Their expectation is to teach, support and help children grow, and some see that many times as a conflict both personally and emotionally for many teachers. ”​

    Sheriffs and superintendents in Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties have told Action News Jax they disagree with arming teachers.

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