The conversation about gun violence in schools has been brought up once again. School shootings and an outcry for an answer to gun control have swept the nation this year. Students, educators, and public officials have all taken a stand against the violence and have demanded better safety in schools. In response, the Education Department is now weighing the option of whether or not to allow firearms in schools. Because this plan brings more guns into schools rather than taking them away, it has caused outrage and criticism from Democratic lawmakers and educators.
In response to the massive gun violence taking place in schools, a senior Trump administration official announced that the agency will be reviewing legislation governing federal academic enrichment grants and will be considering using this grant money for firearms. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the chair of a federal commission on school safety, supports allowing schools the option of whether or not to arm their staff and teachers. This kind of support to bring weapons into schools has sparked criticism from those who campaign for gun safety and student safety. Due to the fact that bipartisan Every Student Success Act doesn’t specifically prohibit or allow the use of Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for the purchase of firearms, the plan to allow guns in school is very much possible.
Many believe that allowing guns in school is not an answer to stop the violence and could endanger students even more. Real change and the promise of student safety can be achieved through after-school programs on gun safety or talking with counselors. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has stated, “Instead of after-school programs or counselors, programs that are critical for creating safe and welcoming schools and addressing the mental health needs of kids, DeVos wants to turn schools into armed fortresses and make kids and educators less safe.”
Unless Congress can clarify if the law bans such funding through legislative action, Devos may opt for firearms in the schools rather than using the money for much-needed programs on gun safety for students. Whether or not the public opinion from staff and students urge to leave weapons out of the hallways, their opinion may not stand a chance.
Are bringing more firearms into the equation the answer to solving gun violence? This is a terrifying age of massive school shootings and the conversation of how to stop the violence brings in voices of all opinions. Each voice hopes to keep all students and staff safe, but have very different answers on how to to do it. Whether it’s to allow guns in school or not, it’s clear something needs to be done to assure the safety of all students and staff.