LAKE WALES, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Another Florida University is taking part in a Polk County Sheriff’s Office program that will allow teachers and other staff members to be armed at school.
“It’s easy to run into a school campus today with a firearm and shoot up people. Why? Because all the law abiding citizens don't have a gun there,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Webber International University’s president, Dr. Keith Wade, signed the contract to take part in the Sheriff’s Sentinel Program Thursday morning.
“By entering into this program with the sheriff, I've got help 15 seconds away not 15 minutes away,” Wade explained.
But not just anyone will be able to carry a gun. The Sheriff’s Office says employees taking part will have to pass a detailed background check and psychological evaluation. In addition, they’ll have to get through 132 hours of training, which includes shooting more than 1,000 rounds, along with active shooter and defensive tactics training.
“I really wish we didn't live in a world where this decision was necessary, but you have to do what you have to do to protect your students and your employees,” Wade said.
Around 700 kids go to the school, which is south of Lake Wales. Among the students who talked to the News Station, opinions on the plan were mixed.
“Makes a lot of sense,” said student Brandon Byrne.
“I don't think handing out more guns to people is gonna help the gun problem,” said student Jordan Barreto.
Officials say talks about adding the program to the school started about a year ago. But Sheriff Judd says after the school shooting in Parkland, there’s been a lot more interest.
According to Wade, 30 employees applied for the program. Not all of them will take part. He says they will not release how many people are armed at school or release their names.