LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering a controversial move: using federal grant money to put guns in American schools.
That money would come from a fund established in 2015 to improve access to things like technology programs, art and music, and mental health resources in low income schools.
As the education department discusses this issue, some tell me that they think having guns in schools should not even be an option, while others think it’s up to the local districts to decide.
But the people who would actually have to use guns are teachers, and one here in Lansing says she doesn’t think carrying one around her students is a good idea.
“The answer to gun violence in schools is not more guns in school,” said Lansing teacher Gini Larson.
Larson says she doesn’t like the idea of carrying a gun in her classroom.
“I don’t want to be in the position of using a weapon against someone who may be a former student,” said Larson.
As back to back school shootings this year took dozens of lives across the country, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is looking to see if having guns in schools as defensive weapons would make situations like these any safer.
But Congressman Tim Walberg says he doesn’t think this is a national decision and it should be up to the local districts to decide.
“We have already given dollars to give states and local school districts to put in place whatever they believe is necessary to protect their kids,” said Walberg.
Linda Brundage, with the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, agrees with Larson and says having guns in schools will only create more problems.
“More of our children will die. Teachers want to teach, they don’t want to be armed guards,” Brundage.
If this idea does become a reality, Larson says she doesn’t know what she’ll do in regards to her career.
“If having a gun and being trained on using a gun in my classroom was a condition of the job, I would have to rethink being a teacher,” said Larson.
An official from the Trump administration says DeVos thinks Congress should figure out whether or not using the grant money for guns is allowed, being that the program doesn’t exactly clarify that.
The Education Department says it is weighing whether to allow states to use federal funds to purchase guns for schools, prompting a storm of criticism from Democratic lawmakers and educators.
If approved, the plan would likely generate a lot of controversy at a time when a string of especially deadly school shootings earlier this year led to the rise of a powerful student-led gun control movement.
A senior Trump administration official told The Associated Press on Thursday that the agency is reviewing legislation governing federal academic enrichment grants to see if the money can be used to buy firearms.