LARGO, Fla. — Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is continuing talks with the Pinellas County School Board to discuss whether teachers should be armed.

  • Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri talked school safety with the Pinellas County School Board Tuesday
  • Pinellas School District decided not to arm its teachers, but the debate continues
  • Parents concerned about how arming teachers may negatively affect student-teacher relationships

In a Pinellas County School Board workshop Tuesday, Gualtieri discussed school safety and arming teachers despite the district already deciding not to arm teachers.

“Cops can't be everywhere all the time, so this is about a force multiplier,” said Sheriff Gualtieri. “School personnel are those people that are going to be there that can mitigate that harm and stop that shooter.”

Parents and others have expressed concerns about arming teachers, including unintentional discharges of firearms and more.

“We're also concerned about guns being used in some situations with some students, especially students of color [who] are already over disciplined,” said Kelly Moore, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a movement that looks to protect people from gun violence. “I'm also concerned it creates a rupture in the student-teacher relationship."

Even with these concerns, Sheriff Gualtieri says school safety comes down to a sense of urgency.

“The facts are that this is going to happen again. The question is when and where, and the question is what are we doing differently to drive a different outcome.”​