The Department of Education and its leader, Betsy DeVos, may let states and school districts use money from a federal grant program intended to keep students “safe and healthy” to buy teachers guns, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing multiple unnamed people familiar with the plan.
Unnamed DOE officials acknowledged to the Times that it would apparently be the first time “a federal agency has authorized the purchase of weapons without a congressional mandate,” in the paper’s words.
Specifically, the department is considering authorizing states to use funds from “Student Support and Academic Enrichment” grants. According to current DOE guidelines, those grants are supposed to achieve one of three ends: “1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, 2) improve school conditions for student learning, [or] 3) improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.”
DOE officials have determined that the purchase of firearms would fall under the second category, improving school conditions, the Times said, citing department officials.
Unlike other federal programs, the Times said, SSAE grant guidelines don’t explicitly prohibit the purchase of guns.
A spokesperson for the department, Liz Hill, did not deny the report, saying instead that “the department is constantly considering and evaluating policy issues, particularly issues related to school safety” and that “[neither] the secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”
Read the Times’ full coverage here.