In the wake of February’s deadly mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump formed the Federal School Safety Commission and placed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in charge. The commission was tasked with providing policy recommendations that might help prevent similar tragedies in the future.
The commission issued a comprehensive final report on Dec. 18, which noted that there was “no universal school safety plan” that could work for all schools in all locations, and instead urged state and local governments to review the recommendations and decide for themselves what might work best.
Breitbart reported that one of the several recommendations was to end an Obama-era school discipline policy that shielded students with behavioral/criminal issues by placing them in special programs instead of the legal system, while another recommendation called for more armed security on school campuses, either via voluntarily armed and trained teachers and staff or armed veterans or police officers acting as security.
House Minority Leader and presumed Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi harshly critiqued the report and attacked the administration over the recommendations.
Her criticisms were not well received, however, by the father of one of the Parkland victims who accused Pelosi of weaponizing the death of children to bolster her agenda, and suggested her remarks only served to “dishonor Parkland’s legacy and endanger other kids for retweets.”
In an official statement, Pelosi said, “Today, the tenure of Secretary DeVos and the Trump Administration has reached a new low. The Trump Administration’s Federal Commission on School Safety report places special interests and the NRA ahead of our responsibility to protect our children and ensure a safe and welcoming school environment for students of all backgrounds.”
“The Trump Administration ignored students, teachers and families to roll back students’ civil rights and fill our classrooms with deadly firearms,” she continued.
“Not only are Republicans ignoring proven research and dismantling vital student anti-discrimination protections, they have blocked commonsense gun violence prevention measures and underfunded effective school climate practices, anti-bullying initiatives, after-school programs and school counselor supports.”
Pelosi added that her new Democratic majority would “act decisively against ill-conceived attacks that make our schools less safe and ensure all students are free from discrimination,” and vowed to “take action to prevent gun violence,” among other things.
The presumptive Speaker also summarized her statement in a pair of tweets, which caught the attention of Parkland father Andrew Pollack, who lost his 14-year-old daughter Meadow in the February massacre.
Pollack tweeted, “When 17 people get murdered in school, politicians have 2 choices: find out why and
#fixit or weaponize it for their own agendas and wait to do it all over again next time.”
“@realdonaldtrump took the high route. You dishonor Parkland’s legacy and endanger other kids for retweets,” he added.
When 17 people get murdered in school, politicians have 2 choices: find out why and #fixit or weaponize it for their own agendas and wait to do it all over again next time. @realdonaldtrump took the high route. You dishonor Parkland’s legacy and endanger other kids for retweets. https://t.co/G4NNqn28ki
— Andrew Pollack (@AndrewPollackFL) December 24, 2018
Independent Journal Review reported that Pollack had been included in the creation of the commission along with other parents to help provide feedback from their perspective on the eventual recommendations.
Pollack has emerged over the months since the Parkland shooting as an outspoken advocate for easily attainable school safety measures — such as armed teachers or security personnel — rather than a complete overhaul of the entire education system, which would inevitably be a prolonged process with impossible to achieve goals and an unknown number of unintended consequences that could actually make students less safe in the long run.
As such, he viewed the commission’s report as a good first step toward making schools safer by allowing them the flexibility to implement particular “fixes” that would work best for their particular circumstances.
However, he viewed Pelosi’s critique of the recommendations as little more than an attack on the Trump administration and defense of the failed tactics of the prior administration.
Pollack was absolutely right to clap back against Pelosi’s sharp criticism of the school safety recommendations, and he was most certainly correct in pointing out that Pelosi and other Democrats would rather politicize future tragedies like Parkland to push their gun control agenda — rather than actually fix the problems behind school shootings in a manner that also respects and protects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
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