Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering allowing states to use federal funding to buy guns for teachers, according to a report from The New York Times.
The Education Department is eyeing the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Program, which is intended to be a source of flexible funding to help improve student achievement. But the program, while focused on learning, does not explicitly ban purchasing weapons. As such, DeVos could theoretically use her authority to approve proposals to using the grant money toward buying guns or weapons training.
Should such a plan move forward, it would be unprecedented, overturning a long-held government position not to fund weapons purchases for schools. It is not clear at present what DeVos’ position is on the matter.
Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told the Times “the department is constantly considering and evaluating policy issues, particularly issues related to school safety. The secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios.”
One unnamed person told The Washington Post that DeVos could conceivably take no action at all. In such a scenario, a state could try to “force her hand” by taking a wait and see approach—using the grant money to buy guns and then waiting to see if the Education Department tries to block it.
While DeVos has yet to publicly announce her position on the plan, she has previously expressed lukewarm support for arming teachers. In March, she said that it “should be an option for states and communities to consider.”