Some Districts Struggle to Find Funds for Basic Supplies, But DeVos is Considering Allowing Federal Funds to Arm Teachers

Secretary DeVos never ceases to amaze me. I have been an education advocate for nearly two decades, and this latest idea that the Secretary of Education is reported to be considering is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever heard.

The New York Times reported this yesterday:

“The Education Department is considering whether to allow states to use federal funding to purchase guns for educators, according to multiple people with knowledge of the plan.

Such a move appears to be unprecedented, reversing a longstanding position taken by the federal government that it should not pay to outfit schools with weapons. And it would also undermine efforts by Congress to restrict the use of federal funding on guns. As recently as March, Congress passed a school safety bill that allocated $50 million a year to local school districts, but expressly prohibited the use of the money for firearms.

But the department is eyeing a program in federal education law, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, that makes no mention of prohibiting weapons purchases. That omission would allow the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, to use her discretion to approve any state or district plans to use grant funding for firearms and firearm training, unless Congress clarifies the law or bans such funding through legislative action.”

This is absolutely a step backwards for our children. Funds for student support and academic enrichment should not be used for firearms and firearm training. There is nothing academically enriching about putting guns in our schools.

The student support was supposed to go toward improving school learning conditions and improving technology for digital literacy. Improved learning conditions and having better technology in the schools are needed. We don’t need a more militarized learning environment that is unwelcoming to rising scholars. We need tools that help teachers teach and help students learn.

I’m also bothered by DeVos’s plan because we know that children of color are more likely to be suspended from school and to be punished. Using that logic, we can assume that these same children who are more likely to be pushed out of the classroom could very well be the ones that the gun barrels are pointed at. We have to push back against this horrible idea from Secretary DeVos to allow states to use federal money to fund the purchase of guns in schools. Our children are counting on us.

What do you think?

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Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez

Alma V. Marquez is the founder of and is the founder and CEO of Del Sol Group, a communications and public affairs firm focusing on Strategy, Outreach and Leadership in Education, Voter and Civic Engagement. She specializes in parent education, politics and community organizing. She is a proud product of California public schools. She is a graduate of Huntington Park High School in Southeast LA. She also completed her all of credit recovery classes at Maxine Waters Occupational Center in Watts in order to graduate from high school. She attended East LA College and transferred to Occidental College where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Comparative Literary Students and Politics. She earned a Master of Arts Degree in Urban Planning at UCLA. Her daughter is a junior in a charter school, chartered by LAUSD. She decided to start the LA Comadre blog because she wanted to create a platform for Latinas and education.

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