Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, joined 42 Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, in sending a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos condemning her reported plans to allow states and school districts to use federal funds to purchase firearms and firearm trainings for teachers and other school staff.
The grants DeVos is considering using were created in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and are intended to keep students safe and healthy, provide a well-rounded education and help school districts more effectively use education technology.
“This plan runs counter to the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and will make our schools more dangerous and our students less safe,” wrote the Senators. “We urge you to abandon this proposal immediately, deny state and school district requests to use federal funds for this purpose, and instead work with us and other stakeholders to focus on other efforts that enhance student safety and prevent violence.”
If DeVos goes through with this plan, the New York Times reports this would be the first time a federal agency authorized the purchase of weapons without a Congressional mandate. Just a few months ago, Congress once again reiterated this position by preventing federal funds from being used to purchase firearms or firearms training in the bipartisan Stop School Violence Prevention and Mental Health Training program.
“Students across the country deserve to learn in an environment that is safe and free of weapons. Introducing more guns into schools and classrooms is likely to lead to more, not less, violence. Reports of an unintentional firing in a classroom and even a gun being left in an elementary school bathroom illustrate the very real dangers to our children of arming teachers and other school staff,” continued the senators.
The full text of the letter is available at bit.ly/2wD3ONU.