Armed Teacher Debate Continues

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos floats redirecting federal funds to arm school teachers.



Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary

By Zoe Rodriguez and Christian Walsh

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, raised eyebrows a few weeks ago when she suggested that federal education funds be redirected to purchase of gun to arm teachers, a complete reversal of previous standards.

Her move follows the months-long debate regarding arming teachers to prevent school shootings, which intensified after the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida earlier this year.

As a result, two vocal and clashing sides have emerged—one promoting putting guns in schools to protect students, and the other supporting a heightened awareness for mental health issues.

DeVos’ plan would give her Department of Education the power to approve firearm purchases using federal funds by any school district in the nation in hopes of deterring campus shootings.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), an Obama-Era program intended to support students and public schools, has no mention of using the money granted to schools towards security.

DeVos’s idea takes advantage of this loophole, determining that gun purchases fall under the “improving school conditions” category.

Although the Trump administration is fully backing up DeVos, many teachers, students, and parents express their concerns with this form of “security” with harsh opinions.

On her Twitter feed, LAUSD Board Member for District 6, Kelly Gonez said, “Our students need more counselors & mental health support, not guns in their schools. Betsy DeVos, put our federal $ to what will *actually* help create safe places of learning.”

After the Stoneman Douglas shooting and the Santa Fe, Texas massacre still fresh in the nation’s collective memory, Van Nuys High student Rahil Rashid points out what many think of DeVos’s gun plan.

“That is the single most atrocious decision I’ve seen any Secretary of Education make and adding guns won’t solve the problem,” he said.