WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced new details on the Federal Commission on School Safety the President appointed her to chair. The Commission has been charged with quickly providing meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school. Accordingly, the Commission will be comprised of department heads whose agencies have jurisdiction over key school safety issues: Secretary DeVos, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
The first organizational meeting will be Wednesday, March 28 in Washington, D.C. to discuss the scope of the Commission’s work, timeline, locations for meetings and topics for field hearings.
Input from and meetings with students, parents, teachers, school safety personnel, administrators, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, school counselors, security professionals and other related stakeholders will be critical to the Commission’s work.
Additional details on stakeholder engagement both in Washington and across the country will follow the meeting on March 28.
“Over the last several weeks, I have held meetings with parents and non-profit organizations, who in the wake of tragedy, have leapt into action and have focused on finding solutions to school violence,” said Secretary DeVos. “The Commission’s task will be to hear their ideas and the ideas of anyone who is focused on finding solutions to bolster school safety across the country. We want to highlight what’s working so that every school has access to solutions that will keep students and teachers safe.”
Attorney General Sessions had this to say about the Federal Commission on School Safety’s work, “No child should have to be afraid to go to school. That’s why President Trump has taken action to strengthen law enforcement and to protect law-abiding people from the threat of gun violence. Since last month’s tragic shooting in Parkland, the Department of Justice has taken new steps to put more law enforcement officers in schools, ban bump stocks, get better information to our background check systems, and aggressively prosecute those who lie on a background check. I am confident that, by bringing together teachers, parents, and law enforcement officers, the School Safety Commission will inform the next steps we will take to give students safety and peace of mind.”
Secretary Azar added, “It is a core responsibility of government to keep our communities, and especially our schools, safe from all forms of violence. We at HHS look forward to contributing to the work of the Commission, especially when it comes to identifying young Americans struggling with serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness and helping them find treatment that enables them to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.”
Secretary Nielsen said, “No child should have to worry about their safety when in school. The Department’s top priority is to keep the American people safe. I look forward to working with other Commission members to advance school security, including by promoting education and community awareness of school threats, capacity building and training to guard against them, and early warning mechanisms to help intervene before threats become tragedies.”
Members of the public with recommendations on how to increase school safety can send them to email@example.com.