Education Department Debates Using Federal Funds for Guns
The bipartisan Every Student Success Act does not expressly prohibit or allow the use of grants for the purchase of firearms.
- By Sydny Shepard
- August 27, 2018
The Education Department said last week that it is weighing whether to allow states to use federal funds to purchase guns for schools. If approved, the plan could generate controversy from opposing sides at a time when a string of school shootings have been especially deadly.
A member of the Trump Administration told the Associated Press that the bipartisan Every Student Success Act, passed in 2015, does not expressly prohibit or allow the use of Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for the purchase of firearms. The official said the agency has received several letters asking to clarify what those funds could be used for and has begun the process of researching the issue.
Many opposing leaders, organizations and advocates have spoken out against allowing schools to use federal funds to purchase firearms, including Nicole Hockley, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise who lost a son in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Rather than arming teachers with a firearm, I would rather arm them with the knowledge of how to prevent these acts from happening in the first place," Hockley said to the Trump Administration during a listening session in February.
On Thursday, August 23, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy responded to the debate by inserting an 11-th hour amendment into a spending bull that would block school districts from using taxpayer money on teachers' firearms.
"I'm doing everything in my power to make sure that Secretary DeVos's [sic] plan to arm our schools is stopped in its tracks," Murphy said. He also noted in March, when Congress passed the $50 million STOP School Violence At, it "expressly opposed putting guns in the hands of teachers."
Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.