Teachers union boss: DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools'

Teachers union boss: DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools'
© Greg Nash

A teachers union president on Thursday said Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosSessions: DOJ concerned about suppression of free speech on college campuses Arming teachers: Bad for students, bad for spending DeVos decries lack of free speech on campuses, says US has 'abandoned truth' MORE wants to turn the government “into an arms dealer for schools” after a New York Times report said that DeVos is considering a plan to let states use federal funds to purchase guns for schools.

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said in a statement that considering using resources to supply schools with more guns “is beyond the recklessness we believed she was willing to pursue” and accused DeVos of wanting to turn schools into “armed fortresses.”

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“Instead of after-school programs or counselors, programs that are critical for creating safe and welcoming schools and addressing the mental health needs of kids, DeVos wants to turn schools into armed fortresses and make kids and educators less safe,” she said. “She wants to turn the U.S. government into an arms dealer for schools. That’s insane.”

The Times reported Wednesday night that DeVos is considering whether to allow states to use federal money to buy guns for schools under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program. Sources told the Times that the Education Department would approve the gun purchases with the goal of improving school safety.

Weingarten said in her statement Thursday that “even responsible gun owners have spoken out to say this is a dangerous plan.”

“Does Betsy DeVos want a kindergarten teacher interacting with her students with a holstered gun on her hip? She needs to stop acting as the lobbyist for the NRA and start acting in the interests of children, parents and the educators she has a duty to serve and protect as education secretary,” she said.