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Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos continue to attack protections for students

Federal Commission on School Safety includes recommendations that would harm students

WASHINGTON - December 18, 2018 -

Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos created the Federal Commission on School Safety that was supposed to address gun violence in our schools and recommend actions schools should take to keep our students safe. Instead, their commission announced today that it recommends stripping students’ of civil rights protections, which seek to prevent racial disparities in student discipline. Although the report does not endorse the DeVos idea that teachers should be forced to carry firearms in school, it does recommend pressuring educators to possess dangerous firearms in our schools.

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Lily Eskelsen García:

“Instead of the Federal Commission on School Safety taking its charge seriously — addressing gun laws in this country and putting supports in place for students after the horrors of Parkland, Marshall County, Santa Fe and the countless other school shootings that have occurred this year — Betsy DeVos and the commission are doing the exact opposite. The recommendations do little to make students safer in our nation’s public schools. They are dishonoring the memory of the students and educators who have lost their lives.

“More to the point, today’s announcement is further proof that we cannot count on Betsy DeVos to protect students’ civil rights. Her decision to rescind critical federal guidance meant to address racial disparities in school discipline undermines the safety and dignity of students and educators in our public schools.

“Schools should continue to advance responsible and fair discipline policies and practices because they are best for students, the learning environment and meet legal obligations to address discrimination. Educators, schools and school districts must continue to enforce anti-discrimination laws. Period.”

“Betsy DeVos’ U.S. Department of Education is using the commission to pursue her agenda to dismantle students’ civil rights protections — an agenda that affects our most vulnerable students the hardest. We do not need the appearance of safety; we need real solutions that create safe schools and address the underlying root of school violence. We need strategies to create positive, supportive learning environments and prevention efforts that end the hardening and over-policing of our public schools.

“The commission’s recommendations were decided in a vacuum without any real input from the real education experts — America’s teachers and school personnel working in public schools. We do not need more guns in schools. Students deserve real solutions that will keep them safe — that is what our students have asked of us. It is shameful that the Trump Administration is using the real risk of gun violence in our schools to strip vulnerable students of their civil rights, while doing nothing to keep all our students safe.”

                            Follow on Twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez, NEA Communications


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