Betsy DeVos turns school gun violence commission into a tool that will hurt minorities - and ignore gun violence completely
In the weeks after the Parkland school mass shooting that left 17 people dead, the Trump administration was highly criticized for doing nothing to protect students. As the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student survivors quickly became student activists, and heroes to the left, the NRA and President Trump knew they were losing ground.
So President Trump tasked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to create a commission to study the epidemic of gun violence in schools and come up with recommendations to make schools safer.
Secretary DeVos took her time to get the Commission up and running.
Her first step was to appoint members to the Commission: just four Trump Cabinet Secretaries, with no Democrats, experts, or students.
That was a red flag.
The next red flag came when DeVos testified before Congress, and was forced to admit that her commission on gun violence would not study the role of guns in school shootings.
It continued to get worse.
This summer DeVos announced a plan to allow schools to use federal funds to buy guns.
And now, according to The New York Times, Secretary DeVos will use her school safety commission as a tool to rescind or roll back Obama-era guidelines designed to protect Black and other minority students from racially-motivated punishments – while suggesting they are responsible for a rise in school violence.
"The Trump administration is planning to roll back Obama-era policies aimed at ensuring that minority children are not unfairly disciplined, arguing that the efforts have eased up on punishment and contributed to rising violence in the nation’s schools," The Times reports.
"The decision culminates a nearly yearlong effort begun by the Trump administration after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla."
The Times notes that this was the plan almost from the start, when DeVos' commission ignored the role of guns in school shootings, "and instead scrutinized the Obama administration’s school discipline policies, though none of the most high-profile school shootings were perpetrated by black students."
The suspect in the Parkland massacre is white.
Documents from DeVos' commission that were obtained by The Times "focus significantly on race and promote the idea that the [Obama-era led] federal crackdown on potentially discriminatory practices has made schools more dangerous."
Federal data shows Black students are three times more likely to be punished, the Times notes.
Vox took a deeper dive. Among its findings, Black girls are suspended six times more than white girls, and Black boys are suspended three times more than white boys. That's just for starters.
Rescinding guidelines on protecting Black and minority students from being punished more than their peers is yet another attack on minority students by Secretary DeVos.
One of DeVos' first acts was to rescind Obama-era guidance protecting the civil rights of transgender students. She quickly told conservatives at a political conference the guidelines were a "huge overreach" by the Obama administration. Later, DeVos threw out complaints from transgender students, and later formalized policy to reject complaints filed by them.
She has rescinded guidance protecting students with disabilities and eliminated Dept. of Education documents on protecting them.
It's not just minority students DeVos is targeting. Victims of sexual assault are on her list as well. DeVos has worked to expand protections for accused rapists and others accused of sexual misconduct, including assault and harassment.