Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to allow schools to use federal funds to arm teachers.
DeVos is prepared to allow states and school districts to purchase guns and pay for firearm training with ‘Every Student Succeeds Act’ money.
Morgan Wright reported on the situation.
Some Democratic Senators are expressing concern for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ proposal to use federal dollars to arm teachers.
“Everybody laughed when, in her confirmation hearing, she said to me that she thought teachers needed to be armed against potential grizzly bears…as it turns out she wasn’t joking…” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy.
Senator Murphy says DeVos’ proposal is a terrible idea.
“If more guns made a place safer, then America would be the safest place in the world,” said Senator Murphy. “We’re not.”
Senator Murphy introduced an amendment to block the Department of Education from allowing school districts to use Title 4 or federal funds to purchase firearms for teachers, but Senate Republicans blocked the vote.
Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, says states get to choose how they use the money.
“I am not a fan of arming teachers,” said Senator Alexander. “As I read the law, Title 4 specifically gives states the decision about spending their money to create safe conditions including drug and violence prevention.”
But Democrats argue that is not what the money is for.
“The Title 4a program was intended to be used for purposes like helping more children get access to mental health care, or providing additional programming in STEM or the arts, not for purchasing weapons,” said Washington Senator Patty Murray.
“The research is very clear that these types of increased police presence and gun presence in our schools is not just counterintuitive in terms of creating a safe and healthy learning environment, but our students don’t want it,” said Brenda Shum, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Director, Educational Opportunities Project.
Shum says having guns in schools undermines students rights to attend a safe learning environment.