When President Barack Obama signed The Every Student Succeeds Act on December 10, 2015, a lone gunman had not yet walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and left 17 dead and 14 wounded in February 2018, nor had a lone gunman walked into Santa Fe High in Texas in May 2018 and left 10 people dead.
Look closely at the dates. The dates matter because Obama signed The Every Student Succeeds Act about three years after a lone gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012 with an assault rifle and killed 20 first graders and six adults.
Since then, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In those episodes, 438 people were shot, 138 of the victims died, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit that began tracking school shootings in 2014, about a year after Sandy Hook.
Against this increasingly alarming backdrop, the Miami Herald recently reported that relatives of those killed in the Parkland, Fla. shooting, as well as wounded victims, have filed lawsuits against the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the school district, alleging the agencies acted negligently and “could have prevented the level of bloodshed.”
And this is where Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent recommendation to use federal money to buy guns for schools under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program comes in.
As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.”
– NY Times Report
The New York Times recently broke the story: “The Education Department is considering whether to allow states to access federal funding set aside for academic enrichment and student services to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan. Such a move would reverse a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.”
Numerous critics are weighing in on DeVos’ recommendation including Congressman Bobby Scott.
Scott said in a recent statement, “The Department of Education is considering a proposal that would allow money that was intended to be used for mental health services and bullying prevention to be used to purchase guns.”
Scott continued, “The Trump administration has a duty to carry out the laws as Congress intended. As one of the primary authors of Every Student Succeeds Act, I am certain that Congress never intended – or even imagined – the Education Department would use Title IV funds to buy guns for schoolteachers.
…see Teachers, page 3