113 Civil Rights and Education Groups Urge Secretary DeVos to Keep Children Safe and Firearms Out of Schools

Education News 09.17.18

WASHINGTON— The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 112 national, state, and local civil rights and education groups wrote a letter today to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos opposing the use of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funds to purchase firearms and firearms training.

The groups write:

“ESSA is not intended to fund firearms and does not state that funds can be used to bring weapons into schools. In fact, the law provides that local education agencies can use Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants to implement drug and violence prevention activities and programs that create and maintain school environments that are ‘free of weapons.’

“Increasing the number of firearms in schools would make children and school staff less safe. When people have greater access to guns, more people are killed with guns.

“Any decision or recommendation by the department allowing schools to use ESSA funds for weapons would be contrary to congressional intent and pose serious danger to children and their teachers. It would funnel money away from the intended purpose of ESSA to improve educational services and close achievement gaps. The department must immediately publicly clarify that ESSA funds cannot and should not be used for firearms or firearm training.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.