The Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program was established in 2018 through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. In its initial report, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission found that having Guardians in schools is the best way to ensure highly trained personnel are in place to respond immediately in the event of a school shooting.
Guardians are armed personnel who aid in the prevention or abatement of active assailant incidents on school premises. They are either school employees who volunteer to serve in addition to official job duties or personnel hired for the specific purpose of serving as a school guardian. Guardians must pass psychological and drug screenings, and successfully complete a minimum of 144 hours of training.
The 2019 Legislature expanded the Guardian program to include Class D and G licensed security guards as well as certain school district or charter school employees who volunteer to participate in the program.
State funds are granted to participating Sheriff’s Offices to cover the screening and training costs for each Guardian. Also, Guardians receive a one-time stipend of $500 for serving in the program.
For schools in need of Guardians, but located in districts that do not have a Guardian program, those schools may arrange for training with another sheriff’s office that has established a Guardian program.
Currently, the 42 counties listed below are participating in the Guardian Program. The Florida Department of Education continues to work with school districts and Sheriffs’ Offices who are interested in joining the program, and this list will be updated to reflect any additions.
- Palm Beach
- St. Johns