New ‘safe harbor’ rule debated by Palm Beach County School Board members

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 11:37 PM EDT
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School board leaders in Palm Beach County are considering a new policy regarding certain small weapons like Tasers in school.

They said the goal is to help keep students safe while acknowledging concerns those students and their parents have about protecting themselves off campus and in school.

The bell will ring in a new school year next week.

School board members in Palm Beach County discussed Wednesday about possibly adding a new policy to its code of conduct.

"I want a student, who, if for whatever reason, they're carrying a Taser with them to school, I want them to be able to turn it in and basically self-report without consequences," Palm Beach County school board member Dr. Debra Robinson said.

Robinson is proposing what she calls a "safe harbor" rule.

Here's how it works:

If a student absentmindedly brings a Taser or a pocketknife to school, they could give it to their teacher or school employee without having to worry about getting in trouble.

It’s a policy that's already being used in one school district in Central Florida.

"Maybe we talk to Orange County public schools and see how it's working and see if that's something we want to put into effect," Robinson said.

This comes after school leaders saw an increase in the number of students bringing weapons to school.

In some cases, parents arm their kids with Tasers to protect them off campus. But the end result is students being expelled.

"The first thought, kids sometimes think, 'Oh, this is cool. Let me just show my friends,'" parent Aurora Cascante said. "They're not thinking about all of the consequences."

Board members agreed but did mention a few concerns with logistics.

"I do have some reservations about what weapons they are bringing to school and making sure school buses are exempt from this,” school board chairman Frank Barbieri said.

Superintendent Michael Burke also made clear that despite taking a closer look at the new policy proposal, tasers will not be allowed in the classroom.

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