Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Wednesday that it was an “oversimplification” and “mischaracterization” to say that President Donald Trump had called for “arming teachers” in response to the Valentine’s Day mass shooting that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida.
Still, the secretary continued to assert that while arming teachers and other school staff need not “be required or mandated” everywhere, it “should be an option for schools, for states, for communities.”
Though he has shied away from more concrete federal gun control legislation to prevent future mass shootings, Trump has consistently advocated for arming school staff to deter future mass casualty events at schools. During her confirmation hearing in January of last year, DeVos speculated that certain schools used guns to protect from bear attacks. (The example she cited later said that was not the case.)
“I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is an oversimplification and a mischaracterization, really,” DeVos said Wednesday during a press availability following a meeting with Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff Wednesday. A former student of the school is alleged to have carried out the attack, murdering students and teachers before his eventual arrest.
“I think the concept is for those schools and those communities that opt to do this — as they have in Texas and as they have in Polk County and other places around the country — is to have people who are expert in being able to defend, and having lots and lots of training in order to do so,” DeVos added.
Watch below via CBS News:
“Let’s be clear, I think to say ‘arming teachers’ — is an oversimplification and a mischaracterization,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says after visiting Parkland students. “It isn’t [a program] that needs to be required or mandated for every community.” pic.twitter.com/vWkAiLJHmE
— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 7, 2018