Because the entire Trump administration is really just one big unending Steven Seagal movie, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has given a slow Birdman hand rub to teachers being armed despite opposition from people who are actually knowledgeable about two things that DeVos seemingly knows nothing about: educating students, and guns.
Let’s be clear, Trump threw this job to DeVos as a pet project. Before becoming the education secretary, her credentials boasted one important caveat: DeVos is married to Trump friend and major contributor to the Trump campaign, Dick DeVos, who ran the multilevel marketing (which some would call a pyramid scheme) known as Amway.
She has never worked as a teacher, a school administrator, or in any educational or governmental capacity. She has never attended a public school in her life. She is as unqualified for the job of education secretary as anyone who ever existed. Therefore, DeVos rarely gives interviews because she doesn’t know what the fuck she’s talking about.
Remember this jewel of an interview:
That was the disaster of an interview in which DeVos said she couldn’t imagine her first-grade teacher with a gun.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a new school safety report that “encourages districts to consider arming school personnel, praises state programs that arm teachers and suggests that schools could use federal funds to train staff to use firearms,” NBC News reports.
As with most things Trump-related, the arming teachers initiative doesn’t explicitly state that schools should provide teachers with firearms. Instead, the report praises those state programs that want to arm teachers and believes handgun training is needed to respond to acts of violence.
“The commission commends divisive initiatives that allow teachers and other staff members to carry guns in South Dakota, Texas and Arkansas for offering ‘effective training programs,’” according to the report.
Shockingly, some of the reddest states in the country are all for arming teachers, and this report gives them the go-ahead without mandating a full-on arming of teachers across the country. It should also be noted that these states rank in the bottom half of almost every ranking of state education systems.
“When the department provides information on best practices, it does so for schools to conduct those practices,” an Education Department official, who asked not to be identified, told NBC News. “They are very direct about the idea of arming teachers, saying, ‘This is what you should do.’”
Of course, the Education Department denied they are explicitly telling states to arm teachers, and they’re right about that. They don’t explicitly state this. What the Education Department is doing is urging school districts to strongly consider arming teachers and just so happens to note that if they choose to do so, federal funds would be available to aide in the training.
The department’s recommendations reflect “practices that are already working in many communities across the country,” spokesperson Liz Hill said. “The commission’s goal has been to identify state and local practices and policies for lawmakers and local officials to learn from and consider, rather than mandating or dictating solutions.”
The report, which doesn’t bluntly condone arming teachers but is mad pro-teacher-with-guns, comes after a bullshit national “listening tour” which was carried out predominately in red states because the Trump administration doesn’t give a shit about the blue states. (They are the Trump administration’s grays, what up Kinja?!) The administration basically wanted to know if they pushed this arming teacher thing, would the red states be cool with it.
According to NBC News, the tour started in June and included Washington, Wyoming, Kentucky, and Alabama among others. The funny thing is even in those states which have a strong Second Amendment gun culture, many parents spoke out against arming teachers.
From NBC News:
At a listening session in Montgomery, Alabama, Adam Jortner, an Auburn University professor of history who called himself “a passionate defender of the Second Amendment,” strongly argued against giving teachers firearms.
“I am here today to ask you and to advocate that we should not be arming teachers,” said Jortner, noting that it “will break the bonds of our community and will not protect our Second Amendment rights.”
In Kentucky, a retired middle school teacher, Willow Hambrick, had a similar message: “Arm us, instead, with the mental health support that is needed. Arm us with increasing, not decreasing, funds for mental health care. And arm us with smaller class sizes, and ways to fight poverty. And give us common-sense gun control.”
Maybe the reason the listening sessions proved ineffective is that DeVos didn’t participate in them but sent her minions to listen instead. DeVos is a busy woman, and she can’t be bogged down in the particulars of listening to people talking about things that won’t affect her at all. Especially since her mind is already made up.
And by “her mind” I mean the president’s mind, as DeVos does whatever the DeBoss tells her to do. DeVos might be the only person in the White House who makes the president feel like a modern-day Steve Jobs.