Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten on Betsy DeVos’ Plan to Purchase Guns to Arm Educators

For Release:


Marcus Mrowka
202-531-0689 (cell)

WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to use federal funds to purchase guns to arm educators:

“We knew Betsy DeVos would try to do the bidding of the National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers, but to even consider diverting resources used to support poor kids to flood schools with more guns is beyond the recklessness we believed she was willing to pursue. Instead of after-school programs or counselors, programs that are critical for creating safe and welcoming schools and addressing the mental health needs of kids, DeVos wants to turn schools into armed fortresses and make kids and educators less safe. She wants to turn the U.S. government into an arms dealer for schools. That’s insane.

“Educators, students and parents have made clear that they don’t want more guns in schools, they want to teach and learn. I sent a letter to President Trump following the Parkland, Fla., shootings asking to meet to talk about why adding more guns to schools won’t make them safe. Teachers and students have testified against this idea in Washington and across the country. And even responsible gun owners have spoken out to say this is a dangerous plan. 

“Does Betsy DeVos want a kindergarten teacher interacting with her students with a holstered gun on her hip? She needs to stop acting as the lobbyist for the NRA and start acting in the interests of children, parents and the educators she has a duty to serve and protect as education secretary.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.