Lisa Blunt Rochester Questions Education Secretary on School Safety Commission That Won’t Study Gun Violence
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) led Education and Workforce Committee Democrats in a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos asking her to explain how the school safety commission that she chairs will study gun violence as part of its work. DeVos testified last week before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies regarding Donald Trump’s 2019 Education Budget Request and during an exchange with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), DeVos stated that it was not the role of the Federal Commission on School Safety to study gun violence. DeVos’ remarks that the commission would not delve into the gun debate is at odds with the White House announcement about the creation of the commission. "The Commission was charged with recommending policies and funding proposals to prevent school violence," the letter said. "A core element of combating school violence is addressing gun violence, both in school and in our communities." Though the Commission can't change gun laws itself, it "can study and develop 'meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school,' which may include policy recommendations to Congress or regulatory actions for other agencies," the lawmakers wrote. “The administration assured families gun safety measures would be examined, and Secretary DeVos’ testimony is a clear departure from that promise ... We’ve got to put politics aside and put our students and communities first by taking a hard look at this epidemic,” said Blunt Rochester. Read the full letter here.