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Arms dealer for schools': Groups threaten DeVos with lawsuit over alleged plan to arm teachers

Gun control, education and civil rights groups have threatened to sue the Department of Education if it goes forward with a plan to use federal funds to arm teachers. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education have been threatened with lawsuits over a plan to arm teachers that hasn't even been confirmed by anyone on the record, The Hill reported.

The New York Times cited "multiple people with knowledge of the plan" when reporting Wednesday that DeVos was considering allowing states to use federal funding to buy guns for teachers.

In response, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Democracy Forward came together to say they may sue if that plan goes forward.

"We will fight this unlawful proposal to spend taxpayer dollars on guns for our kids' classrooms every step of the way," the press release read.

What was the proposal?

For a long time, the federal government has refused to pay for weapons for schools, and Congress expressly forbid money in a recent school safety bill from being used on guns.

According to the Times, a program called the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants doesn't prohibit weapons purchases, meaning the federal government could potentially choose to use that as a vehicle to pay for guns for school personnel.

The Education Department did not confirm or deny its consideration of such a proposal, saying "The secretary nor the department issues opinions on hypothetical scenarios."

Why would the groups sue?

The coalition of groups harshly criticized the proposal, calling it reckless and saying it would only make schools less safe.

"We knew Betsy DeVos wanted to gut and privatize public education, but her decision to consider turning the federal government into an arms dealer for schools goes far beyond the recklessness we thought she was capable of," said Randi Weingten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "Flooding schools with guns will make kids and teachers less, not more, safe.

Other members of the coalition claimed it to be unwise to use federal money on guns when many schools come up short with basic school supplies.

"It is outrageous to think of using federal funds to buy guns for teachers at a time when underfunded schools can't even afford school supplies," said Adam Skaggs, chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

One last thing…
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