Over 80 percent of Flagler County’s teachers and support staffers at the district’s nine schools do not want to be armed on campus, according to a survey conducted by the district.
The survey was conducted at the request of the Flagler County School Board as the board studies the feasibility of arming some staffers in addition to the sheriff’s school resource deputies.
Flagler Palm Coast High School and Matanzas High School got the highest proportion of staffers willing to be trained and armed to participate in the program. But even there, only 17 employees who took part in the survey at FPC (or 17 percent of participants), and 16 at Matanzas (14.3 percent of participants), said they’d be willing to participate.
The survey did not ask employees whether they supported or opposed an armed-employee program in general. It only surveyed their own willingness to participate.
A survey by the National Education Association, the teachers’ union, in 2018 found that 82 percent of respondents said they would not carry a gun at their school, including 63 percent of NEA members who owned a gun.
The Flagler County school district’s survey was conducted online through a Google platform, for district employees only. Tommy Wolleyhan, the district’s safety specialist, presented the results to the school board at the end of a workshop this evening.
The numbers he presented included responses from off-campus school personnel–from the district office at the Government Services Building in Bunnell, the bus depot on Education Way off U.S. 1, and the multiple locations of Plant Services. While some of those employees visit schools, the state’s “Guardian Program,” as it is referred to in law, is designed to strengthen campus security with campus-based employees or hired armed guards.
So the survey as board members heard the results was somewhat skewed: 23.2 percent of off-campus employees who participated in the survey said they’d be willing to be armed, the largest proportion among the locations surveyed.
In all, fewer than a third of district employees–514–participated. Of those, 402 said they would not participate, while 112, including the 26 off-campus employees, said they would. So the board was told that 78 percent were opposed and 22 percent were in favor. When the 26 off-campus employees are removed from the equation, the proportion of those opposed rises above 80 percent.
How far above 80 percent can’t be determined precisely because once participants said they would not take part in the program, the survey questions stopped; they were not asked what campus they were from. The survey only recorded “yes” votes by location. It was otherwise anonymous. It was open for five working days. Based on that approach, it elicited the following responses:
Off campus employees: 26 willing participants (23.2 percent of survey respondents).
Flagler Palm Coast High School: 17 (17 percent).
Matanzas High School: 16 (14.3 percent).
Bunnell Elementary: 11 (9.8 percent).
Buddy Taylor Middle: 11 (9.8 percent).
Indian Trails Middle: 10 (8.9 percent).
Belle Terre Elementary: 5 (4.5 percent).
Rymfire Elementary: 5 (4.5 percent).
Old Kings Elementary: 4 (3.6 percent).
Wadsworth Elementary: 4 (3.6 percent).
(Keep in mind: the percentages are of based on the number of people who participated in the survey, not the total number of employees at each school.) There was also one wiling participant at iFlagler, the district’s virtual school.
The survey also indicates that just 55 teachers, or instructional staff, said they’d participate, along with four school-based administrators. Two custodians also said they’d participate.
Among the willing participants, only 15 percent had either some military or law enforcement background; 60 percent had a permit to carry a firearm.
The school board has not decided to adopt an armed-staffer program. It’s been debating the possibility since last year. Should it go in that direction, the Sheriff’s Office would train the participants. Wooleyhan said the Sheriff’s Office will only train 13 participants at a time, meaning that if there were to be such a program, it would not be in effect until next school year, and even then, with just 13 participants among the nine school campuses, unless some end up being off-campus workers.
Board member Will Furry did not see a connection between the lack of interest and the feasibility of the program, nor did he give any weight to the opposing numbers. “If we only need 13 and we have 112 that are willing, that seems doable,” Furry said.
There was never any question that the district would find some willing participants. But based on the context of board members’ discussions previously, they clearly wanted to also gauge employees’ response as at least a partial indication of the program’s receptivity on campuses.
Board member Colleen Conklin made the point: “I wouldn’t consider that at all–just because you have 112 that want to,” she said. “Are we talking about retired military and law enforcement or are we talking about anybody?” For the program, Conklin puts much greater weight on former military and law enforcement personnel than civilians.
“This wasn’t a survey on whether or not we want the Guardian program it was how many people are willing to do it,” Furry said.
“That’s great,” Conklin said. “I know I was very clear when we were doing this that I would only be interested in this if we were looking at retired military and law enforcement.”
Furry let her know she was just one vote. “My option I’m hearing is is 112 people said yes, I want to do it,” he said. “So we only need 13. That’s a good number.”
With just 13 getting trained, Board member Sally Hunt raised the possibility that one or two could end up leaving the district for whatever reason (turnover has been unusually high in school districts), requiring replacements to be trained.
The survey was to give the board a sense of where interest among staff lies in the program, giving the board the “opportunity to continue to explore what model you could stand up–or not.”
Da, no shit
Deborah S Mott says
Ditto! Does that change if our government passes the new gun laws where a person doesn’t need a permit, but just an ID. I don’t think we’re done, yet! To James- I think the crisis is bigger in our State than we know!
James Mejuto says
What do I think?: Instead of fighting the NRA and the gun manufacturers and their paid-for politicians on Capitol Hill and state legislatures we are fighting ourselves even though over 80% of school employees say they oppose carrying side-arms. We don’t want to admit it but we have a crises on our hands, folks. You school parents have to own up to it, that your kids will one day soon have to spend their days in this hostile atmosphere; not very good for learning is it? Afterall, learning not hiding is why we send them to
school. There are many crisis in this land of our’s but this is the most important.
Keith Sullivan says
You are lying about the facts the facts did not say 80% are opposed they said 80% would not participate meaning value Meaning they would not be the ones who are interested in being armed Stop lying stop lying to yourself And open your ears and listen
James Mejuto says
WOW! You do have a problem with words!
More Guns Is Not The Answer Cowboy says
A. It’s stupid. It doesn’t make things safer. In fact it opens it up to more danger especially if a student knows where that gun is located.
B. It’s unnecessary stress on already stressed employees.
C. You don’t trust them as educators with books and learning material but you trust them with a gun? Give me an effing break. THEY ARE TEACHERS! Let them effing teach!!!!
Here’s a novel idea – put the assault weapons ban back in place, increase security, have a panic button installed in every classroom, like they do for banks, that alerts cops silently when there is a danger.
Teachers teach. They don’t need guns. This world is so bonkers and twisted. I hate it. I honestly do. I cannot stand this timeline we’re on and I want off, now. Please Doctor, bring me the Tardis and get me out of here.
Fantastic! You are right with the panic button– I really like that. Our local Middle School had a student hunting for a weapon to shoot people and those kids involved were thinking they would join in! Panic button is a good start, but once the shooting begins…….
Some common sense prevailed for once.
The dude says
In the MAGAverse 20% support represents a solid mandate and means we all just need to shut it and do what they demand.
I remember seeing all the movies back in the 80s of dangerous inner city schools like new York and Chicago. Now everyone is moving to Florida and our schools are turning into those 80s movies. I say arm the 20% and stop letting people move here from Blue States.
Tell DeSantis and the Cult GOP party that sides with the NRA because all they care about is getting their campaign money. They are a party of violence, guns and against our democracy.
DeSantis isn’t a governor of all people only the ones he isn’t a racists against.
Wait! he supports people carrying concealed weapons with only an ID. How does that help road rage, etc.? I guess our schools need to rewrite protocol to mitigate this!
Deborah Coffey says
Horrifying! That number should have been 100%. Who in this world can learn in an armed camp? When the first kids die in Palm Coast, maybe, just maybe, these crazy Republicans will see the error of their gun fetish ways.
An ARMED camp is a peaceful camp.
Deborah Coffey says
Get back to me after the students are dead. I taught high school for 30 years. You’re wrong!
I taught at West Point for 25 years. All my students are STILL living !!!!! Their enemies, not so much.
“… All my students…”
Show a little respect:
Not when they don’t need to prove proficiency and responsibility! Gun violence— there is no coming back from that once the shot is fired. To know our governor supports anyone can conceal and all they need is an ID, is horrifying! There are enough adults who don’t lock their stock, we don’t need those people without due process gaining weapons and concealing them. Once again, how now (brown cow) does that work in schools, museums, etc.?
The problem with that thought is it might be my daughter or one of her friends that are the 1st casualty! I don’t want to lose my child over this BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
For the love of God, we need more sane, armed adults in our schools. Banning guns will never happen, and for good reason, so enough with that pipe-dream already. This is the next best solution. Arm them and train them, yes please!
@For whom the school bell tolls
Among the comments opposed to guns — many intelligent suggestions.
Among the trolling by the usual dullards — different day, same old stuff.
When younger (adj., having lived or existed for only a short time), I hand reloaded ammunition — including casting Keith type wadcutters favored by real marksmen, with lead recovered from gun range backstops. I suspect some of the commenters may have done so too, neglecting the minimal precautions to prevent exposure to lead fumes. Safe breathing, in any situation, of course, is not a strong point with these Barney Fifes.
Marksmanship (including moving targets), calm good judgement in the midst of confusion and mayhem, courage in the face of bullets coming at you — these are a basic minimum to be a good guy with a gun.
Please — think about that. And tell Barney to go back to the drawing board.
You realize that what is being proposed (teacher/staff aside) is that anyone can carry a concealed weapon as long as they have an ID. No classes, no proving you know what you are doing (safety, etc), and no payment for the permit. You can have any gun and you just need a ID. I can’t imagine what Parkland parents think or anyone who has been a victim of gun violence (including road rage). You sound like you know what you are talking about– why are we throwing caution to the wind???
Yes, I realize all you mentioned.
No, “we” aren’t throwing anything.
Why? The walking malignancies, i.e., Marion Hammer, and her ilk, are working overtime to milk their pet rats, a.k.a., elected Republicans. Right now, BTW, the gun nuts reading this are becoming tumescent from seeing A and K written consecutively. What is a Marion Hammer? This:
NRA’s Marion Hammer isn’t really retiring, just dodging lobbyist disclosure requirements
By one account, Hammer carries a revolver complete with a Crimson Trace. That ought to produce a few sticky fists among the aforementioned nuts.
Why all the snark? I’m sick to death of these shitheads. Their list of truly terrible ideas is endless: cop killer (armor piercing) ammo for all, unlimited capacity ammo magazines, silencers, prohibiting physicians from speaking to a patient about guns, etc. They’ve strangled the ATF for more than 20 years, limited and/or banned funding of research into gun violence. Endless. And guns in schools (other than a LEO) is one of the worst.
Florida LE leaders are embracing a level of surveillance (and the beneficial results are real) that’s comparable to China. Ask any 4 Diamond crime fighter if they know what the NSO Group is. I’d love to read that interview. Then ask them about combat. Ask them about the countless ways things go deadly wrong, e.g., friendly fire, an “opponent” in your uniform, ambushes, diversions, etc. I’d like to see that published — how about you?
I bave to admit that I had to google alot of what you referenced, and I still don’t think I have a grasp. There is way more to this than meets they eye. My father, a registered NRA member used to tell mw that he had to votes what they sent him or “they’d know” and there would be retribution. I always thought this was BS, but maybe it itsn’t! You know more than I do, and I just want to protect children, so what do we do? How do we organize and make change?
Stop electing Republicans.
@You too jt
Stop electing Republicans.
I didn’t vote for a single one— we are out numbered!
Sounds like 20% want to be armed, pretty high response!
I’m a teacher in one of our high schools, I can assure you that most of us are not able to teach because we are constantly competing with the cell phone and not guns. The majority of our students are addicted and don’t want to do what it takes to learn. Instead of worrying about guns in the classrooms, let’s campaign to have all cell phones removed from the classroom so our students can actually concentrate on their studies. One of my colleague referred to some students as cell phone zombies.
1. A FDLE background check is required to purchase ANY firearm from ANY gun shop.
2. “Bad Guys” are exempt from these background checks.
3. If the “bad guy” is already in ANY facility with the intent to do harm, it is TOO LATE to call for law enforcement.
4. Remove cell phones from ALL students possession at school.
5. One entry ONLY into school facility. Metal detector, screening to access facility.
6. Razor wire topped 10’ fencing surrounding entrance. ID required to gain entrance into a receiving courtyard where visitor will be required to clear a metal detector.