The U.S. Department of Education is considering allowing states to use Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants to purchase guns for schools. This request came from legislators in Texas who have passed several bills to put guns in the hands of educators. These grants are intended to provide direct and ongoing educational services, like mental health services and violence prevention programs that provide tangible support for students, not the one-time purchase of equipment, including firearms.

NCLD believes public funds should not be used to purchase guns. Research has shown that such measures do not improve school safety and we are concerned that they may actually have a negative impact on students and disproportionately hurt students with disabilities and students of color. Further, we have evidence-based practices that create positive school climates. These practices include school-wide approaches such as the use of a Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS), integration of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), social and emotional interventions and comprehensive mental health and counseling services for students.

As students head back to school this August they need to know their government officials are making decisions that will keep them safe. Our students deserve greater investments in education, not investments in firearms. We implore the administration to refrain from using public funds for guns in schools and to focus instead on providing great quality teachers and instruction in every classroom. Moving forward, NCLD is committed to working with members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Education to make sure all students have the opportunity to learn in a positive and safe school environment.

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