Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signaled on Friday that she does not plan to take action over the purchase of guns for schools using federal funds.
In a letter to Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia, the top Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, DeVos wrote, “Let me be clear: I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the ESEA,” a reference to federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds.
The letter, which was posted to a Twitter account for the Education Department’s press secretary, is dated Aug. 31.
DeVos wrote that there is ” ‘substantial flexibility’ in how school districts use these funds” and that “Congress did not authorize me or the Department to make those decisions. As I have stated publicly on numerous occasions since I was nominated for this position, I will not legislate via fiat from the Department.”
Earlier this month, the Trump administration pushed back on a New York Times report that DeVos was looking into a plan that would allow states to use federal funding to buy firearms for teachers.
A senior administration official told CNN at the time that the idea laid out in the Times report did not originate with the Department of Education or DeVos. The official also said DeVos thinks Congress should clarify whether using the grant funding to buy guns is permissible.