Florida Senate panel wants officers in schools

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Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and other students from Broward County, Florida, high schools listen to state Sen. Bobby Powell. | AP Photo

PARKLAND, Fla. — A Florida Senate committee has endorsed a proposal to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state.

Only slightly more than half of Florida’s more than 4,000 public schools have the resource officers. They are sworn law-enforcement officers and allowed to carry a weapon on a school campus.

The Senate Education Committee voted Tuesday to include the requirement in a sweeping education bill that is now moving through the legislature.

The proposal is expected to also be part of a comprehensive gun bill that Senate Republicans plan to release later this week. GOP leaders have drafted the legislation in response to the shootings at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Meanwhile, the state House has voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban assault rifles, effectively killing the measure for this session.

Republican leaders in the House and Senate say they will consider proposals including raising age restrictions for gun purchases and the red-flag bill regarding temporarily taking away someone’s guns if they are deemed a threat to others.

One of the three buses that were supposed to take school shooting survivors to the state capital has broken down as it prepared to leave.

The bus driver says the air conditioning on the bus is not working and they are trying to get another bus. They hope that the bus will join the other two that have departed for Tallahassee.

The group of about 100 students is making the 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws.

The students plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol.

Students who walked out of classes in western North Carolina to protest mass shootings at U.S. schools say teenagers are tired of being ignored on the issue.

The Times-News of Hendersonville reports about 50 students left Polk High School on Tuesday and walked to the school entrance sign where they were greeted by an equal number of supporters.

Student body president Drew Bailey said school shootings are a humanitarian issue. Student body secretary-treasurer Luke Collins said students are tired of living in fear.

Students held cards with the names of 17 people killed last week at a high school in Parkland, Florida, when a former student went on a rampage with an assault rifle.

Polk County Schools Supt. Aaron Greene supervised the event and helped direct traffic into the school.

Actor George Clooney and human-rights lawyer Amal Clooney are donating $500,000 to students organizing marches against gun violence, and the couple says they’ll also attend next month’s planned protests.

In a statement Tuesday, the Clooneys say they’re inspired by the “courage and eloquence” of the survivors-turned-activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed at the school and others wounded when a former student went on a rampage with an assault rifle. Students are mobilizing a march on March 24 in Washington and elsewhere to urge lawmakers to enact tougher gun control.

The Clooneys say they’re donating the money in the names of their 8-month-old twins. The couple also says the family plans to “stand side by side” with students next month.

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