President Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety, formed after a mass shooting at a Florida high school, recommended Tuesday that school systems consider arming personnel and advised against increasing the minimum age required for gun purchases.
In the formal release of its report, the panel, chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, sidestepped other contentious issues regarding access to firearms. Still, DeVos characterized the 177-page report as presenting a “holistic” view of school safety, with chapters addressing mental health, violent entertainment, news coverage of mass shootings and building security.
The most concrete recommendation calls for rescinding an Obama-era initiative meant to reduce racial disparities in school discipline. The commission argues that this guidance has made schools less safe by discouraging them from removing dangerous students. The Education and Justice departments are expected to follow through on the recommendation in the coming days.
The move is controversial because of its disputed connection to the mass shootings the commission was formed to address. The decision to recommend that the guidance be repealed, and other elements of the report, were first reported by The Washington Post last week.
The commission was created in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which resulted in the deaths of 17 people. Initially, Trump suggested he might support new gun restrictions, but he quickly backtracked. The commission’s mandate included almost nothing related to gun laws.
Most of the report consists of suggestions for states and local school systems to consider, along with information and research about what others have tried.