In a guest appearance on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos suggested that individual school districts should have the option of allowing teachers to arm themselves. Her appearance on the show followed just two day after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, which resulted in 17 deaths. Secretary DeVos expressed her sympathy for the families and victims of the violence, saying there have been “far too many” school shootings in recent years. According to Everytown.org, an organization that works to end gun violence, 2018 has already seen 17 school shootings. The organization has also tallied a total of 160 gun incidents since December 14, 2012 when 20 children and six adults died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Citing this disturbing pattern, Secretary DeVos called for Congressional hearings on gun violence. Secretary DeVos cited the “signs” that the alleged Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, displayed in the days and months prior to the massacre–troubling indicators that included racists posts on social media–as evidence for further inquiry into the way law enforcement works.
In supporting the arming of teachers, Secretary DeVos echoed one talking point of President Trump, who has spoke openly in favor of specially-trained teachers or staff members carrying weapons as a deterrent. “If you had a teacher who was adept with the firearm, they could end the attack very quickly,” President Trump said in a February 21st listening session at the White House. According to a recent review of 30 studies conducted by Scientific American, widespread gun ownership and use does not deter violent crime.