Let’s get this straight. Education Secretary Betsy Devos is considering using scarce federal education dollars to arm teachers, while her commission on school safety rejects considering the role of guns in school shootings. This is beyond misguided; it’s outrageous. Teachers are educators, not law enforcement. Putting more firearms on school campuses won’t make students safer. It will escalate risk.
Arming teachers is the wrong approach, but there are many alternative steps that would make schools safer. Our recently-released Report of the Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety charts a clear, comprehensive path, tackling access to guns and access to mental health resources; how schools are designed and how threats are reported; conditions on campus and in surrounding neighborhoods. Our proposals are concrete and achievable. Many would yield benefits beyond safety: promoting student well-being, social and emotional growth—and, consequently, academic performance.
Teachers should focus on what they do best—teaching our kids.
In the strongest possible terms, I call on Secretary DeVos to scrap the idea of redirecting funds from student instruction and mental health to arming teachers. Immediately.
City Attorney Feuer is the Chair of the Los Angeles Blue Ribbon Panel on School Safety