Education Minister Betsy DeVos said on Friday that it was a question of spending federal money on the purchase of firearms, as the authorities were looking for ways to prevent school shootings.
This means that for the first time federal debt could be used to buy weapons
"Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action regarding the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff" according to Federal Education Act, said DeVos in a letter to Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (D-Va.).
DeVos said Congress should determine whether the money can be spent on firearms. "
" I will not legalize by Fiat from the Department, "she wrote.
Texas and Oklahoma officials have the department asked to clarify whether money from an educational scholarship program can be used to buy firearms or offer weapons training to make schools safer, but no explicit clarification is planned, said department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill
The use of taxpayer money for weapons in schools has elicited criticism from Democrats, teachers' unions, education groups and arms control activists fearing that weapons in classrooms make schools more dangerous, not safer, but President Trump has argued that armed teachers would "harden" schools, making them less likely targets for Shootings.
Last week, department officials said whether the question of whether or not to use arms subsidies has been considered. But on Friday, DeVos said the agency would not take sides.
Experts said the Agency, by providing no guidance, clears the way for states to spend money on school firearms. If I issue the guide, then this is a signal to the states that [states] these are local Could approve applications, "said Nora Gordon, public policy lecturer at Georgetown University.
Governors and state education officials in New Jersey and Connecticut said Friday they would not allow federal debt to be spent on weapons.
"New Jersey will not participate in this dangerous and misguided program, and I encourage the President to instead use our resources to better serve all our children, the educational and innovative learning programs they deserve do not make our classrooms to a war zone, "said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D).
It was not clear whether more conservative states would allow arms purchases
Student Assistance Scholarships and Academic Enrichment – known as Title IV-A – are distributed to states that distribute the money according to district-draft plans, like this Money is spent.
The statute, which provides the $ 1 billion program with considerable flexibility and, unlike another federal potency, does not prohibit use for firearms purchases
The law states that larger districts will require at least 20 percent of the money for school health and safety have to spend. The Obama administration suggested that schools spend funds in this category for mental health services, nutrition programs and drug prevention.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the Department of Education has no choice but to allow states to spend money on firearms if they want to.
"I'm not a fan of arming teachers, but the safe schools block grant for many years has allowed states to make the decision about using these federal dollars to make schools safer for children," he said, with one former name for the grant program.
But this week, 173 of 193 Democrats in House DeVos have written that they have the authority and responsibility to reject such issues.
"Attack teachers will ruthlessly endanger both students and educators," said Scott, who is the best Democrat on the Court's Education Committee and the organizer of the letter. He called on Congress to clarify that taxpayers' money can not be used for this purpose unless DeVos does.
The DeVos Federal Commission on School Safety plans to hand over decisions on arming teachers to local districts. He will provide guidance to those who apply such policies, people said in a report released by the Committee was written.
Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education, said in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday that "Caring educators are a good example of a deeply personal decision by a school, a school district, or even a state."
The AP reported that Brogan said states had "always had the flexibility" to use funds as they wished, when asked if federal grants could be used to buy firearms for schools.
"The position is: You have the language … The language was specifically written and always interpreted to mean" that's your money, "he told the AP.
After the release of AP's story said Agency spokeswoman Brogan did not specifically want to signal title IV-A. Grants could be used for firearms, saying that the Ministry of Education does not give an opinion on what the federal law allows or dislikes, and that at no time in will give the future a view.