Under the direction of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Federal Commission on School Safety has requested rescinding an Obama-era guideline on schools' "zero tolerance" policies.
The former directive, issued in 2014, argued that minority students were disproportionately targeted for disciplinary action in the education system, and it had to be remedied. The guidelines required, in part, more training in classroom management and conflict resolution, clearer rules for faculty and security personnel in deciding what constitutes a major threat to school safety versus a kid simply acting out, NPR reported at the time.
The goal? Fewer suspensions and expulsions.
The new DeVos-led safety report not only upends these discipline guidelines, but it includes over 100 other recommendations for addressing school violence. One of those directives is to provide guidance for schools who want to equip “highly trained school personnel” with firearms to protect students in the event of a shooting.
It comes soon after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas safety commission voted to arm teachers in schools, despite the protestations of some parents and students. It has the blessing of President Trump, although he is careful to note that armed educators must be well trained.
In a letter to President Trump as she helped roll out the safety report, DeVos noted that no governmental policy can substitute parenting or the role of local communities.
"Ultimately, ensuring the safety of our children begins within ourselves, at the kitchen table, in houses of worship, and in community centers," she wrote. "The recommendations within this report do not and cannot supplant the role families have in our culture and in the lives of children. Our country’s moral fabric needs more threads of love, empathy, and connection."
You can read the whole safety report here.
DeVos's Education Department has taken a hit to more than one of Obama's directives. Most recently she ushered in a series of Title IX reforms, which, DeVos explained, would give more due process to students accused of sexual assault.