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Federal Commission on School Safety Meets

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The Federal Commission on School Safety met Thursday, June 21st in Washington D.C. This is the second meeting of the school safety commission, which was created by President Trump in March of 2018 after the deadly Parkland, FL school shooting.

The Commission, which is led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, chose to focus on the link between media and school violence. Controversy was started when, on Tuesday, Chairperson DeVos indicated that the commission on school safety will not be investigating the role that guns play in these incidents. Her statement, made in response to a question posed by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy during a subcommittee hearing, bothered several groups who have taken the lead on the conversation.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Commission held discussions about a program called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, which is designed to promote good behavior as a method of limiting school violence. This program, which is already in use at thousands of schools, seeks to promote positive behavior and create a feeling of community within each individual. It has been widely accepted as a method of increasing school safety. Despite this, some critics are concerned that DeVos and the Commission are behind the times on school safety programs and are just catching up to what educators have known for years.

The Commission is also expected to discuss repealing an Obama era mandate which encouraged schools to suspend and expel less students and focus on the role that media and video games play in creating school safety challenges.

Ultimately, the Commission is expected to give their recommendations by the end of this year. No additional funding has been discussed yet as part of the plan but the proposed budget for the Department of Education requests a total of $43 million for school safety, compared to $68 million in 2017 and $67.5 million in 2018.

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