By: Kevin Derby Sunshine State News
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., scored a win this week as the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee passed her bill ensuring that federal funds to fight terrorism will not be used to arm teachers.
Demings brought out the “Secure Communities and Safe Schools Act” on Tuesday night. The bill would ensure Homeland Security grant money and Urban Area Security Initiative grant money would not be used to arm teachers. Demings, who served as Orlando police chief, weighed in on has been noting that polls show Americans are opposed to the idea of arming teachers and has been taken aim at Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., who worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, who has been calling on the Trump administration to use DHS grants to arm teachers.
After the Homeland Security Committee, on which Demings sits on, backed her proposal this week, the freshman Central Florida Democrat weighed in on why it was needed.
“As the former chief of the Orlando Police Department, I am horrified at the idea of arming teachers as a so-called ‘solution’ to the problem of school shootings,” Demings said on Thursday, a day after the committee vote. “Arming teachers only shifts our responsibility to them, as well as the hurt, pain, guilt, and possible liability when they find themselves out-skilled and out-gunned in active shooter situations, with our children in the crossfire.
“Lawmakers must continue to work with law enforcement agencies to stop gun violence. I believe in prevention, not triage. What our teachers need is not guns in their classrooms, but laws that keep guns out of the hands of bad people,” Demings continued. “Most teachers would refuse if offered the choice to carry a firearm. Many have said they would quit. Arming teachers would place an added burden on our overworked and underpaid teachers, and would undermine the bond of trust between them and their students. It is even worse that this harebrained idea would be funded by desperately-needed anti-terror funding.
“I am pleased that my proposal is one step closer to law, and will continue to push until the Trump administration is forbidden from carrying out this ridiculous idea,” she said in conclusion.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., is cosponsoring the proposal.