Betsy DeVos: Trump’s School Safety Commission Won’t Examine Role of Guns


So far in 2018, there have been 23 school shootings. That averages out to about one shooting every week. That number will likely remain stagnant as summer break approaches. However, the political pressure and movement to tackle the school violence issue once and for all has already begun with the catalyst being the Parkland, Florida shooting and subsequent activism of the victims.

There was a federal commission on school safety set up after the Parkland shooting. While the central focus of the victims and movement at large has been guns, Betsy DeVos has been mysteriously quiet on the subject herself. Leading some to question if her avoidance of the gun topic was strategic or intentional. 

Tuesday, DeVos more or less confirmed that guns were not something that her or the commission was making a focus. 

DeVos was questioned about whether or not her commission would examine the role of guns in school shootings.  To which she responded, “That’s not part of the commission’s charge, per se.”

So, what exactly is the commission focusing on if not guns? According to DeVos the “focus is on raising up successful, proven techniques and approaches to ensuring schools are safe.”

So far, the commission has focused on:

  • Alternative discipline strategies
  • Violent video games and ratings
  • Media coverage of shootings
  • Obama era policies
  • Mental health
  • Character and culture development

Contrary to DeVos’s claim, the White House says the commission will be examining all possible safety factors including guns, most notably “age restrictions for certain firearm purchases.” 

Department of Education spokesman, Elizabeth Hill, echoes the White House but tempers expectations about gun law changes: 

The secretary and the commission continue to look at all issues the president asked the committee to study and are focused on making recommendations that the agencies, states and local communities can implement,” Hill said. “It’s important to note that the commission cannot create or amend current gun laws — that is the Congress’s job.

The conservative administration finds itself in a tricky balancing act between their conservative pro-gun constituents and the cries from the general public to do something about mass school shootings.


Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.