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Miami-Dade Democrats slam School Board member running for Congress over guns-in-schools vote


Pro-gun legislation conservatives are pushing in Tallahassee is haunting a Miami congressional candidate.

On the dais Wednesday, Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo said he was concerned about guns in schools. But then he cast the only dissenting vote against a measure opposing state legislation allowing designated Florida teachers to carry concealed firearms.

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party took notice. Curbelo, a Republican, wants to challenge U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia.

"As the mother of a child in public school, it's sad that a school board member and wannabe Congressman thinks safeguarding our children is a 'waste of political capital' rather than an urgent priority," Democratic Party Chairwoman Annette Taddeo-Goldstein said Thursday in a statement. "Curbelo is clearly more concerned with protecting himself from the gun lobby than protecting our children."

Curbelo noted from the dais that the state legislation, sponsored in the Senate by Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, would not force the school district to change its zero-tolerance gun policy. As a result, a School Board vote to oppose the measure was irrelevant, Curbelo said, and a bad move strategically when Miami-Dade has other priorities pending in Tallahassee.

"The proposed bill would in no way alter our district's zero tolerance policy on guns in schools," he said in an email Thursday. "It's disgusting how people shamelessly use child-related tragedies to score cheap political points."