WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Tuesday blasted the Federal Commission on School Safety, led by U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, for issuing recommendations that include proposals on arming teachers and gutting civil rights protections. The Commission was established in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
“Teachers don’t want this. Parents don’t want this. Only Betsy DeVos, President Trump, and the gun industry think the best way to stop a school shooting is to load schools up with guns. Arming teachers and rolling back school discipline reforms won’t make our kids any safer. It’s nonsensical and dangerous,” said Murphy. “We know what will make our schools safer. We need to give schools resources to support educators and meaningfully help struggling students. And we need to tighten our gun laws to make sure that criminals don’t have access to guns and that no one can walk into a school with a weapon of war.”
Murphy has been a vocal opponent of using federal education funds intended to address school climate issues to purchase firearms for teachers. In August, he introduced an amendment to block the Department of Education from doing so. Murphy has also been a steadfast proponent for reforming school discipline policies. The Every Student Succeeds Act, which was passed into law by President Obama, included a provision spearheaded by Murphy that requires states to submit report cards on school climate and safety, including rates of suspensions, expulsions, school-related arrests, and referrals to law enforcement. States are also required to submit plans for how they will reduce the use of discipline practices that threaten student safety, including seclusion and restraint. Suspension and expulsion disproportionately effects students of color and students with disabilities.