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Bridging The Gap
White House Passes the Buck on School Safety
  Sunday 18 March, 2018
White House Passes the Buck on School Safety

After nearly a month spent promising action on school safety and gun violence, meeting with students who survived and parents who lost children in school shootings, and convening bipartisan meetings with members of Congress to broker a path forward, the White House is largely punting the issue to states and local school districts.

In a plan unveiled Sunday evening, the Trump administration instead urged Congress to pass two separate pieces of bipartisan legislation one that strengthens background checks and another that funds violence prevention programs in schools.

The proposal also called on states to pass for themselves so-called "extreme-risk protection orders" that allow law enforcement to temporarily take away a weapon from an individual deemed dangerous to himself or others, and also prevents those individuals from temporarily purchasing a weapon.

While promising that "no stone will be left unturned," White House officials also conceded Sunday evening that "much of this is a state and local issue."

The plan creates a school safety commission, headed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, that will review the best policies from national and local school safety experts before crafting a report that includes specific recommendations that states and school districts can adopt.

"We know and understand that many of these solutions will be state-based solutions and even community-specific solutions," DeVos said, adding that the commission will provide communities a single database where they can view all the policies being used by states and school districts around the country, as well as guidance for how to get the federal government to support those efforts.

"There will not be one-size-fits-all solutions and approaches, and I think that's a very cogent argument for having a commission look at a wide variety of solutions," she said.

As for action, White House officials said Sunday that they will make funding available through the Department of Justice to states to provide "rigorous" firearms training to school personnel and also increase federal funding for mental health services in schools. In both cases, administration officials declined to specify a dollar amount.

The plan also promises a full audit of the FBI tip line, and administration officials said the Department of Justice would announce action regarding bump stocks in the coming days.

The plan comes nearly four weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a former student fatally shot 17 children and adults, and just three days before a nationwide school walkout is set to take place March 14 to protest Congress' inaction to combat gun violence.

Source: https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2018-03-12/much-ado-about-nothing-white-house-passes-the-buck-to-states-on-school-safety

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