Florida's Policymakers Move to Arm Teachers Places Students of Color at Risk - Advancement Project - Advancement Project

Florida’s Policymakers Move to Arm Teachers Places Students of Color at Risk

"This bill may as well equate to signing a school-to-prison pipeline warrant for Florida's students of color."

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2018

CONTACT
Nailah Summers
(305) 393-2521, [email protected]

Zerline Hughes
(202) 487-0967, [email protected]

 

WASHINGTONIn the wake of Parkland’s fatal school shooting last month, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott today signed SB7026, a bill that promises to arm teachers, coaches, nurses and other school faculty. Advancement Project’s national office, along with our Florida partners Power U Center for Social Change and Dream Defenders were collecting signatures to deliver to the governor asking for him to veto this legislation in an effort to keep more guns out of schools, but Florida policymakers moved hastily on legislation they should have otherwise taken their time on.

Advancement Project’s national office and its Florida-based partners released the following statement:

“The legislation that passed today has deadly implications for Black and Brown students in Florida,” said Rachel Gilmer, co-director of Dream Defenders. “The bill makes it so that we will end up seeing an unprecedented number of guns entering into our schools. These will undoubtedly be turned on Black and Brown youth who will continue to be targeted by police, and now, the school staff that should be supporting them.”

“If the concern is really about keeping students safe, then we should be considering what keeps all of our students safe,” Gilmer continued. “A real solution would’ve been one that considers the experiences of Parkland students as well as students of color who have lived through gun violence in their community and have simultaneously been exposed to violence by police. The passing of this bill is not a win for Florida students of color.”

“We know that this bill will criminalize young people, particularly black and brown youth in South Florida,” said James Lopez, executive director of Power U Center for Social Change. “We will be looking to the school board and superintendent Carvalho to oppose any push for more guns in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.”
“Gov. Rick Scott had an opportunity to be a responsible leader on addressing school violence. He failed,” said Andrea Mercado, Executive Director of New Florida Majority. “In allowing more personnel to be armed in schools, Gov. Scott and the legislators that made this bill possible, just add to existing fears and pave the way for potential abuse and violence. Teachers and students need more funds, not more guns in schools. They need textbooks, counselors and resources that don’t come at the expense of housing, climate resilience and other neighborhood needs.”
“Safety isn’t secured by law enforcement alone, but by creating an environment where all community residents, young and old, can learn and reach their full potential without the threat of force,” said Garcia. “Flowers don’t bloom in the barrel of a gun. Neither will our children.”

“The governor said he wouldn’t arm teachers but he gave in to the NRA,” said Judith Browne Dianis, executive director of the Advancement Project’s national office. “This bill may as well equate to signing a school-to-prison pipeline warrant for Florida’s students of color. Florida’s students – particularly its youth of color – are now at more risk than ever before. This promise of arming teachers, coaches, counselors, in addition to increasing school police presence throughout the Florida is an egregious mistake.”

“More guns means more people hurt; more cops means more arrests of students,” Browne Dianis continued. “Further, this misguided reaction to the Parkland tragedy shifts critical resources away from the classroom and supporting students in need of help. It’s ironic that states across the country can always find hundreds of millions of dollars for police, but can never find any additional funding to improve educational opportunities.”

###

Dream Defenders is an organization of young people committed to building a powerful, rooted, and local movement for freedom and liberation in Florida. Founded in 2012 after the murder of Trayvon Martin, they organize to end the mass incarceration tearing Florida communities apart and replace it with alternatives that respect the humanity and dignity of all people. Their vision is a state that puts the needs of its people and its land above corporations and the wealthy. They have chapters in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, St. Petersburg and Gainesville, FL. To learn more visit www.dreamdefenders.org.

Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high-quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

KEEP READING

Advancement Project Turns 20

Movement Lawyering Conference Freedom Now! Freedom Forever! Celebration The 2045 Project Advancement Project Giving Circle THIS IS NOT A GALA – It’s a movement! We’re putting the racial justice event of the year together and you’re invited to attend! On Thursday, October 17, 2019, we will celebrate 20 years of progressive racial justice movement work with an event beyond any gala. This is for the people! Join Advancement Project National Office…

Read More
Advancement Project Turns 20

Movement Lawyering Conference Freedom Now! Freedom Forever! Celebration The 2045 Project Advancement Project Giving Circle THIS IS NOT A GALA – It’s a movement! We’re putting the racial justice event of the year together and you’re invited to attend! On Thursday, October 17, 2019, we will celebrate 20 years of progressive racial justice movement work with an event beyond any gala. This is for the people! Join Advancement Project National Office…

Read More
Press Roundtable: New tool preview in advance of DeVos’ keynote in Baltimore

In advance of Secretary DeVos’ keynote address to the Education Writers Association in Baltimore, Advancement Project National Office is providing a media preview to a resource we have developed in order to underscore how the policies being passed by this administration help to uphold a history of criminalizing Black and Brown youth. As Advancement Project enters our 20th year and continues our decades-long fight to dismantle structural racism, we are excited to share our new #AssaultAt map, created in collaboration with the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ).  

Read More
Philadelphia Student Union, Advancement Project National Office Pen Policy 805 Opposition Letter to Philadelphia Board of Education

PSU releases demands in response to proposed emergency preparedness policy, including removal of metal detectors in schools

Read More
Leading National Civil Rights and Racial Justice Organizations Condemn Betsy DeVos’ Opposition to Recommendations of Federal Commission of School Safety

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Racial Equity Anchor Group, which includes Advancement Project’s national office, has written a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to express its profound opposition to the recommendations of the Federal Commission on School Safety. Decades of research on school climate has consistently shown that safe schools are well-resourced and invest in the supports students need to thrive in and beyond the classroom. Supports like school guidance counselors, psychiatrists and high-quality teachers help create positive school climates and help address the root cause of violence. Read the letter…

Read More
Rescission of Obama-era School Discipline Guidance is an Attack on Youth of Color

National Education Justice Organizations Denounce DeVos’ Attack of Obama-era Guidance Aimed at Combating Discriminatory Treatment of Students of Color

Read More
National Education Justice Organizations to Host a Day of Action Demanding Police-Free Schools

"The same police that are in schools are the same police shooting down unarmed people in the streets and deporting families."

Read More
‘The Hate U Give’: Another Resource in the Youth Organizing Toolkit

In this heightened moment of political activity, young people are in need of an outlet to voice their concerns and feel empowered to impact what’s going on around them. The film, “The Hate U Give” makes an important point about what many young people of color experience, what they are witnessing and how to be politically engaged by it.

Read More
6 Things You Need to Know about School Policing

From our new report "We Came to Learn"

Read More
Tools to create #PoliceFreeSchools

We Came to Learn report and action kit

Read More