Philip Levine bashes federal school safety commission for ducking review of guns

Philip Levine

Following February’s shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, President Donald Trump set up the Federal Commission on School Safety. The commission, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, was tasked with reviewing ways to keep students safe in light of recent acts of gun violence.

One issue the commission apparently won’t examine? Guns.

DeVos was asked yesterday by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy if the group would review “the role of firearms as is relates to gun violence in our schools.”

She replied: “That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se.”

“So we’ll look at gun violence in schools, but not look at guns? It’s an interesting concept,” concluded Leahy.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine pounced on the secretary’s remarks in a statement. “Betsy DeVos’ decision to not investigate the role of guns in school safety reflects the Trump administration’s continued disregard for our children’s safety. This year, more children are dying in our schools than servicemen and women on the battlefield.”

Though shocking, that statistic comparing student deaths and military deaths is actually correct, according to PolitiFact. However, the site also notes that the number of deaths as a result of school shootings this year is abnormally high.

Still, Levine says the refusal to look at guns in a review of school safety is unacceptable. “As the federal government continues to turn a blind eye to the problem staring us right in the face, it’s time our state had a leader who will take on the tough issues and stand up to the gun lobby.”

Levine continued, “As governor, we won’t ignore reality. We will rise to the challenge and tackle this issue head-on with common-sense gun reforms. My administration will put our kids first.”

Interestingly, DeVos’ comments yesterday contradict the commission’s mission statement listed on its own website. The site notes explicitly the commission should provide recommendations regarding a “minimum age for firearms purchases.”

Other issues the commission is set to look at include “social-emotional support, recommendation on effective school safety infrastructure … and the impact that video games and the media have on violence.”

Other members of the commission include Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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