Trump’s safety panel seeks to revoke school discipline rules

Trump’s safety panel seeks to revoke school discipline rules

Trump unveils school gun report in wake of Parkland massacre which says nothing about his demand to arm teachers

  • Trump’s school safety commission, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, turned in their recommendations in a report Tuesday
  • The report lays out  dozens of suggestions to improve safety in schools – and arming teachers isn’t one of them
  • It does propose to roll back Obama administration guidance after finding that black students were three times as likely to be suspended or expelled 
  • It warns that schools suspended of discrimination risk losing federal funding 
  • The policy came under scrutiny following the Parkland shooting in February
  • Critics suggest it has left schools afraid to take action against potentially dangerous students

President Donald Trump’s school safety commission finally released it’s report on school safety measures, and it did not not include a measure to arm teachers in schools.

Trump had insisted earlier in the year that highly-trained teachers packing heat could prevent massacres like the Parkland shooting, if governments would allow them to concealed carry firearms on school property. 

Yet, the proposal was missing from the report that earned praise from parents whose children had died in school shootings during a Tuesday roundtable at the White House.  Access to guns was barely mentioned in the report at all. 

Trump did not bring the topic up, either, at the White House roundtable, where he said, ‘Nothing is more important than protecting our nation’s children.’  

President Donald Trump’s school safety commission finally released it’s report on school safety measures, and it did not not include a measure to arm teachers in schools

The panel, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, made recommendations in a report Tuesday that lays out dozens of suggestions to improve safety in America’s schools.  

Trump created the commission in March following the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that left 17 students and staff members dead. Critics of Barack Obama’s policy say that it has left schools afraid to take action against potentially dangerous students.

Obama’s administration issued guidance in 2014 that sought to address the issue after finding that black students were more than three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended or expelled. The guidance warns that schools suspected of discrimination – even if it is unintentional – can face investigations and risk losing federal funding. 

But the policy that Trump’s commission proposed to role back came under scrutiny following the Parkland shooting, with some conservatives suggesting it discouraged school officials from reporting the shooter’s past behavioral problems to police. 

Trump’s school safety commission, led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, made the recommendation to end an  Obama-era discipline school policy in a report Tuesday 

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the most vocal critics, urged DeVos to find a better balance between discipline and school safety.

The report covers areas ranging from mental health and cyberbullying to the regulation of guns and violent video games. 

On the question of whether schools should arm teachers and other employees, the panel said it should be left to states and schools to decide, but the panel noted that schools can use certain federal grants for firearms training.

‘Our conclusions in this report do not impose one-size-fits-all solutions for everyone everywhere,’ DeVos said in a call with reporters. ‘Local problems need local solutions. This report seeks to identify options that policymakers should explore.’


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The commission gave the report to Trump, who planned to talk about it later Tuesday.

Among the chief proposals is a rollback of 2014 guidance urging schools not to suspend, expel or report students to police except in the most extreme cases. Instead, the guidance calls for a variety of ‘restorative justice’ remedies that don’t remove students from the classroom.

In its report, the commission says the policy was well-intentioned but ‘may have paradoxically contributed to making schools less safe.’ 


Obama’s administration issued the guidance in 2014 after finding that black students were three times as likely to be suspended or expelled. It warns that schools suspended of discrimination risk losing federal funding

The policy came under scrutiny following the Parkland shooting in February

It calls for a rollback, saying disciplinary decisions should be left to school officials. It said the Justice Department should still investigate intentional discrimination but not the unintentional cases that are barred under the 2014 policy.

The commission’s proposal was praised by some conservative groups but drew harsh criticism from some activist groups.

Critics suggest it has left schools afraid to take action against potentially dangerous students, such as Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz 

Dmitri Holtzman, director of education justice campaigns for the Center for Popular Democracy, said the proposal sends ‘a clear message to millions of Black, Brown, Immigrant, LGBTQ and Transgender students that the Federal Government is turning its back on them instead of proactively protecting their fundamental rights.’

Along with DeVos, the safety commission includes leaders of the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security. 

They issued their findings after more than a dozen meetings with teachers, parents, students, mental health experts, police and survivors of school shootings.

While the report doesn’t encourage schools to arm teachers or staff, it says they’re allowed to, and it points them to a Justice Department grant that can be used for training. Still, the group underscored that having a police officer who works in the school is the best option to respond to violence.

Among its other proposals, the commission urged states to adopt laws allowing ‘extreme risk protection orders,’ or court orders that temporarily restrict access to firearms for people who are found to pose risks to themselves or others. 

The group recommended against raising the minimum age to buy a firearm, generally 18 in most states, saying there’s no evidence it would reduce killings.

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