gun control school protest betsy devos

#BooksNotBullets Shuts Down the Abhorrent Idea of Using Academic Funds to Arm Teachers

Whenever we think DeVos can't get any worse, she always proves us wrong.
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We’ve always known that Betsy DeVos isn’t opposed to putting guns in schools (you know, because of the bears), but according to a new report from the New York Times, the education secretary is seriously considering using federal funds to provide firearms and firearm training for teachers and school staff—and not just any federal funds. The money would reportedly come out of an existing academic support fund, created by Congress to provide money for things like mental health support, arts enrichment, and technology programs in the country’s poorest schools.

The White House has pushed back against the report, saying it originated from an inquiry, from the Texas Education Agency, into whether some interested school districts theoretically could use the fund’s money that way. Their question reportedly went unanswered. Let’s hope that’s true, because the idea of arming teachers this one that Trump himself seems to be awfully fond of, having brought it up on a number of occasions, including in a “listening session” with survivors of the Parkland shooting.

Whatever the case, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s only hesitation with the idea seems to be whether Congress says that’s an acceptable use of the money or not, which isn’t really any better.

Backlash over the article was immediate and intense. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy announced an amendment to a massive funding bill, being debated in the Senate when the report was released, that would ban the education department from using federal funds to purchase guns.

In the end, that particular bill was passed without Murhpy’s amendment, but the issue is in no way settled. Democrats have been speaking out against the horrifying idea of arming teachers.

The reaction from regular Americans has also been strong. #BooksNotBullets began trending on Twitter, with people–especially teachers and parents–sharing their thoughts.

If you think putting guns in schools is a terrible idea, you can tell your representatives here.

(image: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.