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NEA opposes guidelines being considered by the Department of Education

Lily Eskelsen Garcia: Students need more books, not guns, in their classrooms

WASHINGTON - August 23, 2018 -

Following is a statement by NEA Lily Eskelsen García regarding the proposed guidance by the Department of Education. Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos is considering guidance that will allow Title IV-A funds to be used for arming teachers.

“The idea of arming teachers is ill-conceived, preposterous, and dangerous. Arming teachers and other school personnel does nothing to prevent gun violence.

“Title IV-A funds were allotted for mental health, bullying prevention, arts enrichments and other needed programs. To take that money away from our students and use it to put guns into our classrooms is outrageous and unacceptable. Not to mention, it’s taking money from students to buy guns from arms manufacturers, to boost their financial bottom line. It’s one more example of the corruption, greed and misplaced values of this administration. If we use the funds for what they were intended to be used for, we might start tackling some of the issues that lead to gun violence.

“Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors. They do not need more guns in their classrooms. If a gun gets inside our schools, we’ve failed. Teachers should be teaching, not acting as armed security guards. “An NEA member poll conducted this past spring indicated that educators strongly reject arming educators and other school faculty. The poll also showed overwhelming support for stronger gun violence prevention laws, including comprehensive and enforceable background checks to prevent dangerous people from purchasing guns.

“We need a comprehensive approach to provide safe and secure learning environments for students and school staff. It needs to include expanded access to mental-health services; access to resources to make necessary and thoughtful security enhancements to school facilities; and supports that allow local communities to decide for themselves what kinds of school personnel are most needed.

“Students cannot learn and educators cannot teach when threatened by physical violence or harassment. They need a safe and secure learning environment. Arming teachers is not the answer. It’s past time to protect our students and our schools.”

CONTACT: Celeste F. Busser, Senior Press Officer
National Education Association
1201 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036