Betsy DeVos Is Reportedly Considering Letting Schools Use Federal Funds to Buy Guns


In what would be an unprecedented move, the New York Times reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering allowing states to purchase guns for schools using federal funding.

Because the federal government typically refrains from supplying schools with weapons, the Education Department is looking at a specific program, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, which are supposed to be used by the poorest school districts to provide a well-rounded education and improve digital literacy and school conditions. According to the Times, the $1 billion student support program does not currently prohibit the purchasing of weapons, meaning DeVos could approve plans for states or districts to use the grant funding for guns or training.

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Those familiar with the department said they’ve determined the purchases would constitute as improving school conditions, though guidelines for the grant suggest schools create dropout prevention programs, increase access to mental health counseling, and improve re-entry programs for students coming from the juvenile justice system.

The decision would also be in contrast to recent efforts by Congress; in March, Congress passed a school safety bill that would give $50 million in grants per year to school districts in order to train students and teachers to spot signs of school violence. The districts were prohibited from using the money for guns.

Liz Hill, a spokesperson for the Education Department told the Times that the department is “constantly considering and evaluating policy issues, particularly issues related to school safety” and DeVos and the department does not issue “opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump tweeted support for armed teachers in schools and was quickly met with backlash. It’s expected that DeVos’ plan would be met with the same.

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