Wednesday, The New York Times reported Betsy DeVos—President Donald Trump's controversial Secretary of Education who came from a background with no experience with education but did make large donations to Trump causes—examined the possibility of using funds from her department budget to buy guns for public schools.
Congress passed a $50 million school safety bill in March that prohibited the use of funds to buy guns for schools,… https://t.co/zwfWQhReBu— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1534993550.0
The proposal remains under review according to the report.
The federal budget is set up by Congress each fiscal year on a series of appropriations. Those appropriations designate what department can use the funds which is why a surplus of money in the Department of the Interior will not affect a budget shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services without Congress voting to move the funds from one appropriation to another.
Then within that appropriation, Congress can earmark funds for specific programs in a department. Congress earmarked $50 million to the Department of Education for school safety meaning all of those funds must be used for that purpose alone.
However earmarked funds can also include rules.
In the case of the school safety funds, Congress enacted the provision that those specific funds could not be used to buy guns. But the Department of Education does have ways to get around that provision; use other funds in their budget appropriation that might loosely be interpreted to apply for their gun buying initiative.
This is nuts. At time when our children need more academic support in schools, Betsy DeVos is considering diverting… https://t.co/7aM5etGkDO— Chris Van Hollen (@Chris Van Hollen) 1535032359.0
Betsy DeVos targeted a program setup in federal education law—the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants—that carries no prohibition against buying guns. Whether DeVos considers the firearms to be Student Support or whether they provide Academic Enrichment remains unclear.
News of DeVos' deliberate attempt to get around the school safety restrictions specifically placed on the Education Department by Congress received negative feedback from organizations promoting an end to school shootings and other forms of gun violence.
We will not militarize our schools. We will not militarize our schools. We will not militarize our schools. We will… https://t.co/b4pCYAQfmB— Ryan Deitsch (@Ryan Deitsch) 1535031142.0
Gabby Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman shot during a public appearance, voiced her reaction on Twitter in a series of tweets. Since the attempt to assassinate her, Giffords and her husband—NASA astronaut Mark Kelly—founded Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Teachers are not bodyguards. The Trump Administration’s latest plan to allow more teachers to walk around with guns… https://t.co/qvxc8Pc3qc— Gabrielle Giffords (@Gabrielle Giffords) 1534997558.0
Arming teachers is not a solution. It recklessly puts American children in even more danger. We can forge a better… https://t.co/IxSP2QMAeA— Gabrielle Giffords (@Gabrielle Giffords) 1534997662.0
The President may only listen to special interests that say shootings are acts of evil beyond our control. They are… https://t.co/8OAJexOk49— Gabrielle Giffords (@Gabrielle Giffords) 1534997688.0
Congress refuses to act—so this year we'll elect leaders who will. This November, we all must vote. We're going to… https://t.co/hP4EzcyoqG— Gabrielle Giffords (@Gabrielle Giffords) 1534997829.0
Giffords did not stand alone in her opinion that diverting funds from a program designated for Student Support and Academic Enrichment to purchase guns for teachers was not a solution to school shootings or safety. The National Education Association previously stated forcing teachers to use guns was not a viable or wise choice.
Twitter agreed as the following reactions show.
Some stated the gun buying program had less to do with school safety and more to do with gun manufacturer profits. The idea to arm teachers came from the largest gun industry lobbyist, the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Why? Because gun manufacturers are in the hole at least $100 million since Trump’s election. The @NRA can’t scare A… https://t.co/stJJEabau0— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1534995673.0
America’s teachers aren’t given enough money to buy school supplies, yet the Trump Administration wants to use use… https://t.co/bRVZqKN6JZ— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1535031123.0
Arming teachers has not been shown to improve school safety. Research shows access to guns increases risks posed to… https://t.co/RyMaPG9OYo— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1535031389.0
American students of color are already much more likely to be disciplined than their white peers. When guns are mor… https://t.co/Afpf0oLj1Y— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1535032928.0
Studies show police - who are highly trained - hit moving targets about 30% of the time. Trying to turn volunteer t… https://t.co/TOb1JCjsWA— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1535033710.0
Teachers need help buying supplies, but not guns according to several posts on Twitter.
Secretary DeVos should introduce me to A SINGLE teacher who doesn’t spend his or her own money on ACTUAL school sup… https://t.co/lEJSpVe0Jc— Rep. Ted Deutch (@Rep. Ted Deutch) 1535032028.0
America’s teachers are already forced to spend their own meager salaries on basic school supplies, but the Trump Ad… https://t.co/h1GjLkcqv2— Moms Demand Action (@Moms Demand Action) 1535028564.0
Devos, after my daughter was murdered, you yelled don't talk about guns, talk about mental health. Your brain dead… https://t.co/psVKDGcI8A— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg) 1535028639.0
Every Teacher Ever: "please...we can't even...buy a pencil...we have no supplies...the kids..they ran out of paper… https://t.co/3OAVIvSBR3— Lane Murdock (@Lane Murdock) 1535031505.0
The stated purpose of the program DeVos targeted for her gun buying program bears a mission statement to "[help] states, districts and schools provide students with a more well-rounded education." It is unclear how handing their teacher a handgun will accomplish that goal.
I guess @BetsyDeVosED only watched the first 00:20 https://t.co/F8hWuY5soW— Ryan Deitsch (@Ryan Deitsch) 1535032853.0
After the story broke, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced emergency legislation to stop Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education from doing what they were expressly told not to do by Congress.
As you walk your kid to school today, think about what you will do between now and Election Day to vote out every s… https://t.co/BGXIR4Eo85— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1535027052.0
🚨🚨🚨 This morning we found out Betsy DeVos is trying to use federal funds to arm teachers. I just introduced emergen… https://t.co/S0ELLkLfQM— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy) 1535040313.0
Midterm elections are slated for Tuesday, November 6, 2018.