Democrats on Capitol Hill are using just about every tool they can think of to try to stop Every Student Succeeds Act money from being used by schools to purchase firearms.
On Friday, two top Democrats on the House education committee asked congressional leadership to include a ban on Title IV money from going to guns and firearms training in the education funding bills currently under consideration on Capitol Hill. The grants are intended to fund school safety efforts, education technology, and supportive school climates. But Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the top Democrat on the House committee, and fellow committee member Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., say if Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos lets those grants go to guns, she’ll be subverting the fundamental purpose of the grant.
“Diverting federal fund to arm teachers would not only jeopardize student and staff health and safety, but also run counter to Congressional intent, precedent, and common sense,” wrote Scott and Bonamici, who also copied lawmakers who oversee the appropriations process.
Last month, a report that DeVos was mulling over a proposal to let Title IV aid go to firearms and firearms training outraged Democrats, school advocates, and others. The Trump administration said the issue originated through a question Texas districts asked about whether the grants could be spent on guns. Ultimately, DeVos stated publicly that she would not weigh in on the issue one way or the other. Republican leaders of congressional education committees, however, have said this decision is best left up to states and districts.
Also on Friday, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., asked for the Senate education committee to hold a hearing on the issue of Title IV grants and guns, and for DeVos to testify.
Congress is supposed to pass fiscal 2019 spending bills funding the federal government by Sept. 30.
You can read Scott and Bonamici’s letter.