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Lawsuit Filed Against Duval Public Schools For Arming Safety Assistants

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Some Jacksonville parents Thursday joined the League of Women Voters in filing a lawsuit against the Duval County Public School District for hiring armed staffers to patrol school grounds.

The School Safety Assistant Program was adopted in April by the school board in response to a new state law passed after the Parkland School shooting in February.

Related: Duval School Board Votes On Armed Safety Assistants, Takes Stand Against DOE Proposal

The League’s Patricia Brigham claimed the program is dangerous and illegal.

“The program not only puts thousands of students at risk - and especially students of color and students with disabilities - but it also violates Florida law,” she said.

See Also: Read The Warning Letter Sent To The School District In Advance Of The Suit

The assistants are not police officers, but they undergo 200 hours of training with the Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office.

According to the suit, Florida law prohibits anyone who is not a sworn law enforcement officer  to possess guns on school property.

"The League of Women Voters of Florida has long advocated against allowing unqualified citizens to carry firearms on school campuses," said Brigham. "The idea that these ‘guards’ would keep our schools safer from gun violence is misguided and absurd."

A Duval Schools representative says the district can’t comment on pending litigation.

See also: Duval County Public Schools' School Safety Innitiatives

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Giffords Law Center have taken up the lawsuit.

Contact Abukar Adan at 904-358-6319, or on Twitter at @abukaradan17.

Copyright 2020 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit .

Abukar has joined the WJCT News from Maine Public, which is based in Portland, Maine.