DeVos considers plans to let states use federal fund to buy guns for schools: report

Greg Nash

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is reportedly considering a plan to let states use federal funds to purchase guns for schools.

The Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program does not specifically prohibit weapons purchases and would allow DeVos to decide which states or school districts could use the funding for guns and training, sources told The New York Times on Wednesday.

The $1 billion student support program is intended to fund the country’s poorest schools, the newspaper noted, adding that funds are typically allocated toward improving education curriculum, school conditions or technology for digital literacy.

{mosads}The Education Department would likely approve the gun purchases under the goal of improving school conditions, the sources told the Times.

Schools that would reportedly receive fund would be encouraged to increase mental health counseling, create dropout prevention programs and help students acclimate from the juvenile justice system.

“The department is constantly considering and evaluating policy issues, particularly issues related to school safety,” Liz Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, told the newspaper. “The secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”

The move would be a historic break of precedent from the longstanding federal government policy of not to paying for weapons inside schools, the newspaper noted.

Congress passed a bipartisan school safety bill earlier this year that created a new grant program to help educate students and teachers about warning signs for gun violence.

School safety became a national talking point after the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., and Santa Fe, Texas earlier this year.

President Trump has advocated for arming staff on school premises in an effort to combat school shootings.

“If they go into a school, a gun-free zone is like target practice for these guys. They see that and that’s what they want. Gun-free zones are very dangerous,” Trump said in February.

Trump established the White House school safety commission in March to “study and make recommendations” on several topics, such as age restrictions for certain gun purchases.

DeVos, who leads the panel, said after that the commission would not look into the role firearms play in gun violence at schools.

Seventeen members of the House Education Committee are wrote a letter to DeVos in June demanding an explanation into why the commission would not focus on gun violence.

Tags arming teachers Betsy DeVos Betsy DeVos Donald Trump Education Department gun violence Parkland school shooting President Trump Santa Fe school shooting school safety

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