DeVos to lead Trump task force on prevention of school violence

- Maret 11, 2018

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she will lead a task force to examine how states are taking steps to prevent violence in their schools, following the Parkland, Fla., shooting last month that left 17 dead.

DeVos said in an interview airing on CBS News' "60 Minutes" on Sunday that she believes arming teachers “should be an option for states and communities to consider,” though said she “couldn’t ever imagine” her own first-grade teacher being armed in the classroom.

“I have actually asked to head up a task force that will really look at what states are doing,” DeVos said, according to an advance transcript. “See, there are a lot of states that are addressing these issues in very cohesive and coherent ways.”

President Donald Trump is expected to appoint DeVos on Monday as head of a task force dedicated to developing policies to curb school violence, CBS News reported. DeVos last week visited the site of the mass shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and said at the time she'd be putting out more recommendations on school safety.

As for guns in the classroom, for those teachers “who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered,” DeVos told "60 Minutes." “But no one size fits all. Every state and every community is going to address this issue in a different way.”

Trump has previously called for arming teachers as a strategy to protect schools from shooters, though he has also said the decision should be “up to states.” Trump has also talked about “hardening” schools, strengthening background checks and raising the age for gun purchases. And last week he met with video game executives at the White House after suggesting that graphic content in games could be a factor in mass shootings.

During the interview with Lesley Stahl, DeVos also defended her tenure in the Trump administration and her school choice proposals.

Asked why she had become “the most hated” Cabinet secretary, DeVos said that she’s “not sure exactly how that happened.”

“But I think there are a lot of really powerful forces allied against change,” she said, adding that “I’m more misunderstood than anything.”

DeVos said she didn’t know whether the public schools in Michigan improved following the school choice policies she pushed in the state. “I can't say overall that they have all gotten better,” she said.

“Michigan schools need to do better,” DeVos said. “There is no doubt about it.”

Asked whether she had visited poor-performing schools in the state, DeVos said: “I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” But, she conceded, “maybe I should.”


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