Betsy DeVos Wants to Use Education Funds to Buy Teachers Guns

Reading, writing andÖ rifles? Our nationís educational system is notoriously underfunded, yet the White House is currently exploring options to divert some of the existing education budget toward purchasing guns for schools.

The unknowledgeable Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is leading the charge on this idea, which should give no one any comfort that common sense will prevail. Previously, she infamously advocated for guns in schools because of grizzly bears.

Sign the petition: Tell DeVos to use education funds for educational materials, not firearms!†

Itís not entirely clear whether the Department of Education has the authority to spend in this manner because precedent dictates that federal dollars cannot be used to purchase weapons without explicit permission from Congress.

Nevertheless, DeVos and her staff think theyíve found a loophole: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant. If that doesnít sound remotely related to guns or safety for that matter, thatís because it isnít. Instead, this $1 billion program is intended to help the nationís poorest districts to upgrade technology, enhance curriculum and improve school conditions.

Although the grant specifically advocates for gun-free schools, the Education Department is focusing on the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant anyway because nowhere in its text does it prohibit gun purchases. DeVos is preparing to argue that arming teachers would ďimprove school conditionsĒ to live up to the grantís mission.

Ironically, the Trump administration has actually attempted to get rid of this program in each of its last two budget proposals (suggestions that Congress ignored) because why spend money on improving schools for poor kids? Now theyíve finally found a reason to support it: guns!

Polls do not reflect that Americans would be behind this maneuver. Fifty-eight percent of voters and 75 percent of the teachers themselves donít want teachers and school officials packing heat. Americans are more open to the idea of having armed and trained security guards on school grounds, but thereís no indication whether the proposed money would pay for that.

Even the Republican-led Congress isnít likely to like this plan. This year, in fact, Congress passed legislation awarding schools $50 million to ramp up safety measures, while explicitly saying that the money couldnít be used to buy guns. Lawmakers would have the power to restrict the Education Department, but given how reticent they are to stand up to the Trump administration, whoís to say they would?

Take Action

So letís not leave it up to Congress. Before DeVos takes this plan any further, letís be sure to voice our extreme displeasure. If you want to see this education money spent as intended, not as a backchannel to purchase guns for teachers, please sign this petition directed at Secretary DeVos.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

54 comments

S M
S M23 days ago

This idea of DeVos and to have the audacity to take the cost out of educational monies is showing the degree of mental instability, giving unstable decisions in America. Is it because all the one’s in power, as in all America bar the indigenous who covertly controlled, are of immigrant stock and brought with them the traits of the unsuccessful in their home countries?

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Ann B
Ann B24 days ago

it is bad enough that all the school doors are now locked--- no in no out..and having MORE guns would be a disaster..the idea that a teacher MIGHT save someone is a theory but a disgruntled student might decide OH BOY there is a gun...WHO can i shoot??? REAL BAD IDEA

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Roberta G
Roberta G25 days ago

Kay B...you are ignoring the plight of parents who, as you say "run themselves ragged on the hamster wheel" in order to buy just the necessities - the needs - (food, shelter, clothing, and medicine) for their children. Yes many people indulge their wants, and many of us have more than we need. But, remember, many people struggle for the necessities of life. We need adequate, safe, supported public schools (what you describe as "government schools") for our children, and DuVos and the trump regime should be working towards that end. Instead they are taking away school funds to support the expensive charter schools which in many cases exist to enrich the corporations which own them.

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Leo C
Leo Custer25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Karen S
Karen Swenson25 days ago

@Kay B--I agree there are other ways to live. Our ancestors lived the so called simple life and the stress was just as bad, only different, and there was no weekend relief. I don't have nostalgia for that life, because I have lived it growing up. It does cost money to home school too. You have to buy books and equipment, etc., but if that is how you want to bring your kids up, go for it, however, to live like "little house on the prairie" in an ever changing competitive modern world is, in my opinion, a big gamble. There are some parents who are excellent at teaching and their kids do just as well and sometimes better, but there are 2 sides to every coin and you don't hear very much about the other side. I agree with you, Kay, in enjoying your life and family now. Also think homeschooling is a good idea, if possible, when you have a child that is relentlessly bullied and nothing is ever done about it. We need public schools as well; many are very good and some are excellent, no matter what some politicians, or others with agendas, want us to believe; one solution does not fit everyone.

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Kay B
Kay B26 days ago

continued... Don't struggle five days to have two days of relief, don't simply survive till retirement and then die or be too sick to enjoy it. It's really an entirely different mindset that modern society has lost. Each of your questions would take more space than this forum provides to explain extensively but I've tried to scratch the surface. For those interested, a little research and a willingness to think outside the box, will reveal many,many resources for homeschooled kids as well as for lifestyles other than the hamster wheel.

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Kay B
Kay B26 days ago

The hamster wheel is the tiresome job that parents run themselves ragged on and never quite seem to have enough. Drop the wants and pay for only the needs. The vast majority of people in the US have so much more than they need and don't even know it. The people who lived a hundred years ago could vouch for that. Some people are learning to grow or make themselves everything they need. Some are living on BLM land. Some take part time or seasonal work and with reduced expenditures it can be enough for a very peaceful and satisfying life. We are programmed to believe that more is better but that's not necessarily so. Sometimes simple is better. People who really want to get off the hamster wheel and stop taking their kids to schools with the dangers of shootings and teachers with guns, there is hope. Everyone has their own opinion, but in my opinion, adults and children as well who learn how to live peacefully and independently on very little have just as much advantage or more as those who learn how to run frantically on a high paying hamster wheel paying for a life they don't have time to enjoy. I heard a saying one time that said you don't really pay for things with money, you pay for them with pieces of your life and at the end of life, you may not think it was worth it. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so enjoy your life and family now. Don't struggle five days to have two days of relief, don't simply survive till retirement and then die or be too sick to e

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson26 days ago

@Kay B--What are the ways the working poor don't have to have several jobs to eat and have a home? What resources are available? What about the kids who live in a one parent home, of which there are many. What about the kids who do not have educated parents, or have parents who are on drugs, or are abusive? What about the fact we are not all good teachers--there is a reason teachers are qualified and educated to teach? I will never trust statistics on home-schooling, because most states do not keep complete records of who homeschools. And many of the most widely quoted studies were done by homeschooling organizations with a particular political and cultural agenda. I would never trade one hamster wheel, that has worked for many decades, for one that is unregulated and unproven. Are you homeschooling your children?

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Kay B
Kay B26 days ago

continued from my other post.......If you really want off the hamster wheel then think outside the box.

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Kay B
Kay B26 days ago

If the news is to be believed then school shootings are not propaganda but a fact. And there are ways to raise your kids even if you have a job. There are families doing it. There are also ways to have a roof and eat without having several jobs but some don't want to accept these ways. Some do. People have different priorities. But there are so many resources available that parents don't have to turn their kids over to government schools if they really don't want to.

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