POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd on Thursday swore in Florida's first "honorary" school guardian, a Broward County resident who has been a vocal supporter of arming school employees since the death of his daughter in the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in February, 2018.
- PREVIOUS STORY: Father of Parkland Shooting Victim to Become Honorary School Guardian
- Ryan Petty's status honorary because he's not a school employee
- Petty plans to use that status to continue advocacy for guardian program
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Ryan Petty served on the state commission charged with finding reforms that can prevent attacks like the one at the high school in Parkland. He watched hours and hours of footage of the shooting, and came to the conclusion that it takes too long for law enforcement to respond to mass shootings. A better solution, in his opinion, is to have armed, trained personnel working inside the schools.
To be effective in his advocacy, he wanted to do the 144 hours of firearms training required to become a school guardian. He also wanted to do it to honor the memory of his daughter, Alaina.
"The best way I can honor Alaina is to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else," Petty said following his swearing-in. "That's what she'd want me to do."
Petty will not be able to use his training in a school because he is not a school district employee. Instead, he plans to use the experience to advocate for the school guardian program.
Stephanie Claytor contributed to this report.