Dem senator: I hope DeVos 'gets a handle' on school safety commission
Posted by Brett Samuels on 13th March 2018

This post was originally published on The Hill - Senate News

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Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn Murray30 million people will experience eating disorders — the CDC needs to help Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion Overnight Finance: Mulvaney sparks confusion with budget remarks | Trump spars with lawmakers on tariffs | Treasury looks to kill 300 tax regs | Intel chief’s warning on debt MORE (D-Wash.) on Tuesday sharply criticized Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Trump, Pence to address CPAC this week House Dems call for first Education Committee hearing on school shootings since Sandy Hook MORE following a meeting, calling the administration’s recently formed commission on school safety “a tool for continued distraction” from changes to federal gun laws.

“I am hoping that Secretary DeVos gets a handle on this issue and changes her tune, but based on this meeting today, I have no confidence that this commission will be anything other than a tool for continued distraction and safety,” Murray said in a statement.

Murray serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. She said she met Tuesday afternoon with DeVos, who chairs the federal commission on school safety unveiled by the White House earlier this week.


The White House on Sunday announced its plan to “harden” schools in the wake of a Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school. The announcement did not include any federal gun law proposals, but established a panel to assess best practices for improving school safety.

Murray said DeVos did not express interest Tuesday in addressing gun safety policies like universal background checks or raising the minimum age requirement to purchase a rifle. 

“Everything I heard from [DeVos] in our conversation suggested that this is just the latest effort to delay and shift the conversation away from the gun safety reforms that people across the country are demanding,” Murray said.

Murray also said that DeVos told her that only federal officials would be part of the panel.

The White House said Sunday the panel would include federal, local and school officials.

President Trump’s Education secretary said Monday that “everything is on the table” for the commission, and called for a “broader” approach to the debate over gun laws and school safety following the Parkland shooting. 

“There are many things that have driven this issue in the first place and we have to go back to the beginning and talk about how these violent acts are even occurring,” DeVos said.