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Politics Dem senator: I hope DeVos 'gets a handle' on school safety commission

06:06  14 march  2018
06:06  14 march  2018 Source:   thehill.com

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“ I am hoping that Secretary DeVos gets a handle on this issue and changes her tune, but based on this meeting today, I have no confidence that this She said she met Tuesday afternoon with DeVos , who chairs the federal commission on school safety unveiled by the White House earlier this week.

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Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on Tuesday sharply criticized Education Secretary Betsy DeVos following a meeting, calling the administration's recently formed commission on school safety "a tool for continued distraction" from changes to federal gun laws.

"I am hoping that Secretary DeVos gets a handle on this issue and changes her tune, but based on this meeting today, I have no confidence that this commission will be anything other than a tool for continued distraction and safety," Murray said in a statement.

Murray serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. She said she met Tuesday afternoon with DeVos, who chairs the federal commission on school safety unveiled by the White House earlier this week.

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Get Help. DeVos Wasn't There The Federal Commission on School Safety held its first public listening session Wednesday. Secretary DeVos , the chair, as well as the three other cabinet secretaries on the commission , did not attend.

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The White House on Sunday announced its plan to "harden" schools in the wake of a Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school. The announcement did not include any federal gun law proposals, but established a panel to assess best practices for improving school safety.

Murray said DeVos did not express interest Tuesday in addressing gun safety policies like universal background checks or raising the minimum age requirement to purchase a rifle.

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“That is not part of the commission ’s charge, per se,” DeVos said during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing after being pressed by Sen . “We’re actually student school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school ,” DeVos said.

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the federal commission on school safety set up this year after the Parkland, Fla., school massacre will not focus on the role guns play in school violence.

"Everything I heard from [DeVos] in our conversation suggested that this is just the latest effort to delay and shift the conversation away from the gun safety reforms that people across the country are demanding," Murray said.

Murray also said that DeVos told her that only federal officials would be part of the panel.

The White House said Sunday the panel would include federal, local and school officials.

President Trump's Education secretary said Monday that "everything is on the table" for the commission, and called for a "broader" approach to the debate over gun laws and school safety following the Parkland shooting.

"There are many things that have driven this issue in the first place and we have to go back to the beginning and talk about how these violent acts are even occurring," DeVos said.

DeVos gets cold shoulder from White House after interviews .
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos got a less than ringing endorsement from the White House on Monday after a pair of uncomfortable television interviews raised questions about her commitment to help underperforming schools and support for President Donald Trump's proposal to curb school violence. Less than a day after DeVos was appointed to chair a federal commission on school safety, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders downplayed DeVos' role in the process.

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