Washington, DC— Records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit led by Democracy Forward, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Federation of Teachers, refer to high-level deliberations within the agency about the use of federal funds to purchase guns for teachers.

Department of Education records obtained by the groups also revealed that a superintendent for the Porter Consolidated School District in Oklahoma sent a request to the White House seeking federal funds to arm and train teachers on firearm use. The request, which asked President Trump to “keep up the good work of Making America Great Again,” spurred discussion within the Education Department about Secretary DeVos’ legal authority.

Today, these records were used at a Congressional Education and Labor hearing to confront Secretary DeVos on August 2018 reporting that the Department considered the use of Title IV funds to arm school teachers. Today, as she had previously, Secretary DeVos denied having the authority to make a decision either for or against the use of funds. During questioning, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes read excerpts from a decision memo, which directly contradicts the Secretary’s position that she lacks the authority to keep additional firearms out of schools.

The groups issued the following response:

“Using federal funds to arm America’s educators is dangerous and illegal. Secretary DeVos’ claim that she lacks authority to prohibit using taxpayer dollars to put guns in the hands of teachers is mistaken: she has the authority and she should use it to invest in real solutions that make schools safer, not putting more guns in classrooms.”

Press Contact:

Charisma Troiano | (202) 701-1781| ctroiano@democracyforward.org

Jen Fuson | (202) 834-6209 | Jen.Fuson@splcenter.org

Jason Phelps | jphelps@giffords.org

Oriana Korin | okorin@aft.org