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Sandy Hook Promise Condemns Department of Education Grants to Fund Arming Teachers

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) Sandy Hook Promise rejected the Department of Education's proposed plan to provide funding to arm teachers that was reported as students across the country are going back to school.

All students deserve safe, welcoming, supportive school environments where they can learn and thrive without fear. No parent should send his or her child to school and worry that the child may never come home. However, arming teachers is not the solution. Teachers agree, including those who own guns themselves: 74% of teachers surveyed by the National Education Association opposed arming teachers to combat gun violence in schools.

"We wholly reject this proposal to fund the arming of teachers in our children's classrooms. While we welcome ideas to keep students safe, the Department of Education's proposal is dangerous and misguided. No teacher should have to carry the responsibility of taking a student's life in a shootout. Teachers and school administrators should be focused on education, not weapons training. We must invest in solutions to stop violence in our schools before it happens. Our Know the Signs programs have been proven to help students and teachers identify, intervene, and get help for someone at-risk of doing harm and eliminate the need for any weapon to be introduced into the equation," said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.

Sandy Hook Promise attended the White House listening session with President Trump and Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in February, following the Parkland shooting, and voiced strong concern and opposition to the President's suggestion to arm teachers and staff.

"We urge people to call Betsy DeVos' office to tell her that arming teachers is not a part of a school safety plan. We believe we must ensure that all our students and school systems are trained to know the signs of gun violence and how to properly intervene when they learn someone is a threat to self or others to prevent gun violence before it happens. Know the Signs training should be implemented across every state."

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