Trump Administration Disputes NYT Report That It Plans to Use Federal Funds to Arm Teachers


( – The Trump administration is disputing a New York Times report that said that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering using a grant program meant for academic and enrichment opportunities for the country’s poorest schools to arm teachers in school.

CNN reports that a senior administration official explained that the idea for using federal funds to arm teachers did not originate with the Education Department or DeVos. Instead, the officials said the department received a letter from the Texas Education Agency asking if funds from a federal grant program can be used to buy firearms.

The letter was circulated to department lawyers and researchers for guidance, the official said, according to CNN. The department chose not to respond, according to the official.

The program in question is the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program, a $1 billion student support program that is part of the Every Student Succeeds Act. It is intended for school districts to use federal funds towards “providing a well-rounded education, improving school conditions for learning and improving the use of technology for digital literacy,” the NYT reported.

The families of the victims of the school shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., issued a statement in opposition to the NYT report that DeVos was considering allowing states to use federal funds to arm teachers.

“Using federal funds to arm teachers is a misguided idea that undermines real efforts to safeguard our schools against mass shootings like the one that took our loved ones at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. We should let our teachers, teach and our nation should look to hire trained law enforcement or school security officers to protect our students and staff at school,” said Tony Montalto, president of Stand with Parkland and father of Gina Montalto.

“We must make securing the safety of our schools a national priority. America’s children deserve nothing less. It is time the President and the members of Congress uphold the commitments made to take real action to combat violence in our schools. Empty promises are not enough. We need action,” he said.

“For the sake our children Americans must demand that our elected officials reach across party lines and come together to secure our schools, ensure students have access to the mental health programs they need, and ensure responsible firearm ownership through practical reforms such as universal background checks,” Montalto said.

“As the families who lost our loved ones in the massacre in Parkland, we intend to hold the President and our representatives in Congress accountable for their inaction on this American epidemic,” he said.

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