School Safety Commission recommends training, arming school personnel

School Safety Commission recommends training, arming school personnel

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, shown reading to students on March 1, . (Photo: U.S. Department of Education)

WASHINGTON — States and local school districts should consider training and arming school personnel, according to a new report from the Trump administration’s Federal School Safety Commission.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said this could be done via partnerships with local law enforcement.

“Additionally, this report concludes that students would benefit from more veterans and retired law enforcement officers leveraging their knowledge and experience to serve in a variety of school roles,” DeVos added in a phone briefing Tuesday.

According to a senior administration official who insisted on anonymity, these roles could include “extracurricular mentors, custodial staff, administrators or, in some [instances], teachers.”

The senior administration official said the report does not recommend federal funding for training, nor is it a one-size-fits all approach.

The official cited discrepancies between police response times to mass shootings that vary from district to district as the basis for ensuring that there is a more prompt reaction to threats.

In addition to the nod toward armed personnel, the report advocates better access to mental health, state measures to ensure that individuals deemed a danger to themselves or others have reduced access to firearms and media coverage that prevents school shooters from gaining notoriety.

The recommendations also include rescinding Obama-era guidelines intended to prevent minority students from being disciplined more harshly than their peers.

The commission was formed in the wake of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The massacre left 17 dead and also injured 17, prompting a wave of nationwide protests in favor of stricter gun laws.

Nikolas Cruz, 20, a former student at the school, is awaiting trial on 17 counts of premeditated first-degree murder and 17 counts of first-degree attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case. Cruz also has been charged with battery and using a stun gun on a law enforcement officer after allegedly attacking a deputy in jail last month.

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