WASHINGTON – The Education Ministry is considering whether states should provide federal funds for the purchase of weapons for educators, as several people with knowledge of the plan know
Such a move appears to be unprecedented and a long-standing position to reverse by the federal government that it does not pay to equip schools with weapons. And it would also undermine Congressional efforts to restrict the use of federal funds to arms. It was only in March that Congress passed a law on school safety that provided $ 50 million a year to local school districts, but specifically banned the use of money for firearms.
The department is constantly dealing with political issues, especially issues of school safety, "said Liz Hill, education department spokeswoman." The secretary and department give opinions on hypothetical scenarios. "
The $ 1 billion student aid program, is part of the Everest Student Success Act, designed for academic and enriching opportunities in the poorest schools in the country and challenges school districts. The money should serve three purposes: providing comprehensive education, improving learning conditions in schools, and improving the use of technology for the students Digital Education.
Ministry officials acknowledged that the Ministry of Education should implement the proposal, the first time that a federal agency has approved the acquisition of weapons without a congressional order, according to those familiar with the discussions there is no such one in the Federal Education Act This could undermine the adoption of the "Drug and Violence Prevention" program of the Grant Program, which defines a safe school environment as being free from weapons.
In his research, the Ministry of Education has stated that gun purchases may be subject to improving school conditions, people who were familiar with the department's mindset said. Under the current guidelines for this part of the grant, the Department encourages schools to improve access to psychosocial counseling, set up abortion prevention programs, reduce suspension and expulsion, and improve return programs for juvenile justice students.
But the department began to explore whether the use of support grants should be expanded after the school's shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, prompting states to ask for alternatives. Department officials wondered if they should issue guidance on funding before the start of the new school year, but they weighed the political and legal consequences, according to the person familiar with the discussions.
The proposal of the Ministry of Education is almost certainly to play with. The Trump Government Call Arming educators to prevent school shootings has been met with overwhelming criticism from educators, lawmakers and law enforcement officers.
The measure would also deviate from the decades-long practice of allocating the purposes of school safety
In the guidelines for scholarships, which are distributed by the Homeland Security Authority and, for example, provided for "school preparation", it is noted that weapons and ammunition are not allowed are. And after the Parkland shootings, Congress added a rule prohibiting the use of firearms or gun training subsidies in the Stop School Violence Act, in which the Department of Justice allocates funds to school districts.
Considering the Education Department's proposal It was also considered that school shootings played no role when Congress passed the "Everest Student Succeeds Act" in 2015, according to the persons familiar with the discussions. Three of the remaining architects of the law – Representative Robert C. Scott, Democrat of Virginia, and Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington State – have all rejected the idea of arming teachers.
Student grants were funded by other programs that broke down under the Every Student Success Act, which included mental health, violence prevention, bullying, and harassment.
The Trump administration has twice tried to cut the grant program from its budget. But when Congress drafted a spending bill in the months following the shooting of Parkland, the advocates suggested the program was emblematic of a successful approach to school safety. Instead, Congress increased funding for the grants by $ 700 million in the law passed this year.
Following the shooting of Parkland, the Trump government convened a Federal Commission for School Security led by Ms. DeVos to investigate issues such as mental health and behavioral health. Resources, building security and the role of law enforcement in schools
The Commission has conducted several public hearings during which educators and lawyers from across the country have asked for more support staff and services, including school counselors, and additional safety measures. Members of the commission have also visited school districts, such as in rural Arkansas, where armed employees can be found in schools in areas that are not easily accessible by law enforcement agencies. The Commission plans to make recommendations by the end of the year.
In June, Ms DeVos said that the Commission would not consider the role of guns in shootings at school, but she later stated that the panel would look closely at certain issues. including age limits on firearms purchases
Last month, DeVos Deputy Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, Jason Botel, repeated this point in a congressional hearing.
That prompted Representative Donald M. Payne Jr. Democrat of New Jersey to question the Ministry of Education. In a letter to Mr. Botel, he asked if the department planned to arm teachers.
But the department issued a statement that this was not planned because "this is a function that is reasonably reserved for the states."