Federal Commission on School Safety Excludes Voices of Students, Educators

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NEA President: Our students deserve better than an insincere, closed and secretive commission

Students join NEA members at a March For Our Lives rally against gun violence in Washington on March 24, 2018. Photo by Patrick G. Ryan/NEA.

Students join NEA members at a March For Our Lives rally against gun violence in Washington on March 24, 2018. Photo by Patrick G. Ryan/NEA.

Our students deserve better than hollow words and an insincere, closed and secretive commission. --NEA President Lily Eskelsen García

The Federal Commission on School Safety met for the first time today behind closed doors at the White House without students, teachers or parents at the table and away from the public’s scrutiny. The National Education Association, which represents 3 million educators working in America’s public schools and on college campuses, was not invited to attend the meeting.

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

“Donald Trump appointed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to lead the Federal Commission on School Safety. This commission is meeting just days after hundreds of thousands of students held marches in Washington and across the country to demand meaningful action to prevent gun violence in our schools and communities. Yet, today’s meeting purposefully excludes the voices of students, educators and parents. In the past, Trump has consistently mocked the idea of commissions to solve the nation’s problems. Trump’s own words undermine his intent to do something to protect our students, educators and communities. Our students deserve better than hollow words and an insincere, closed and secretive commission.

“Given the previous actions of DeVos, we’re not surprised that today’s meeting is closed to the media and happening away from the eyes of the public. The commission’s clear purpose is to push an agenda that is focused on a dangerous and misguided plan to put more guns in schools by arming teachers and other school personnel.

“All of this is a distraction from the real problem: Very dangerous people have very easy access to very dangerous weapons. Our students need fewer guns in schools — not more of them — and bringing guns into our schools does absolutely nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. We must listen to the students, educators and parents, who have unequivocally stated they do not want more guns in schools and overwhelmingly have rejected the idea of arming educators.”

NEA surveyed 1,000 members nationwide March 1–5, and the results showed that members support a range of commonsense solutions to address school shootings, but arming teachers is not one of them. Among the survey’s findings, an overwhelming majority, 82 percent, say they would not carry a gun in school, including 63 percent of NEA members who own a gun. Sixty-one percent of gun owners oppose arming teachers. Sixty-four percent of those in gun households oppose arming teachers. Two-thirds, 64 percent, say they would feel less safe if teachers and other educators were allowed to carry guns. Seven in 10, 69 percent, say arming school personnel would be ineffective at preventing gun violence in schools.

Follow on twitter at @NEAmedia and @Lily_NEA

Keep up with the conversation on social media at #ProtectOurSchools and #NotOneMore

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Staci Maiers
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