On March 8, ALA President Jim Neal and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) President Steven Yates released the following joint statement in response to legislation that will allow for the arming of school librarians in Florida schools. Senate Bill 7026 would permit librarians, counselors, and coaches to carry firearms in Florida Public Schools.
“The ALA and AASL support the efforts of Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME) and Florida Library Association to provide safe and accessible learning spaces for students and learners of all ages,” stated Neal and Yates.
“School librarians work with classroom teachers to provide instruction integral to the curriculum and offer additional informal learning opportunities for students. School librarians are invaluable teachers who offer an enriching learning environment for students and colleagues throughout the school. Firearms in our school libraries, as in any other classroom, will undermine the sense of security that is critical to students and divert school librarian attention away from the core focus of student learning.
“While we are all too aware of the gun violence that affects the communities that we serve, including our schools, we do not believe that allowing the arming of school librarians with guns is the answer to preventing violence and mass shootings. Schools need more resources, including the expertise of a certified school librarian for teaching and learning.