DeVos, Murray spar over school safety commission

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate's education panel, m...

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 3:40 PM
Updated: Mar 17, 2018 3:40 PM

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate's education panel, met earlier this week after President Donald Trump announced that DeVos would chair a federal commission on school safety.

Since the Tuesday meeting, though, the two have traded barbs about the usefulness of that meeting and how to best curb violence in the nation's schools.

Murray released a blistering statement after the meeting, calling it "extremely disappointing" and questioned whether the commission that the President established would truly help end deadly mass shootings or if it was only the "latest effort to delay and shift the conversation away from the gun safety reforms that people across the country are demanding."

On Friday, Murray wrote a letter to DeVos, saying that she was "troubled and disappointed" by DeVos' lack of specificity and detail, and called on her to release more information about how the committee will work, including how members will be selected, the scope of the work and how it will present its findings.

"It is my sincere hope that this commission will be more than mere window dressing, a delaying tactic, or a platform for ineffective, NRA-approved proposals that place the interests of the gun lobby above the protection of our families," Murray wrote.

In response, Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill told CNN that DeVos has "no desire to engage in the senator's stunts. She's focused on solutions."

"Secretary DeVos requested the meeting with Senator Murray to solicit her input early in the process of organizing the Federal Commission on School Safety because she genuinely wanted to hear the Senator's thoughts and concerns," Hill said. "Instead, the senator, once again, defaulted to her tired posture of partisan politics."

"Now is not the time for that," Hill continued. "It's time to focus on making schools safe for our students and teachers."

DeVos defended the creation of the commission in a CNN op-ed published Friday, saying "people retreating to the usual political corners and talking past each other" does not make students safer.

"There are best practices that are working today in communities across this country, and our commission will spotlight them and disseminate them to every school," she wrote. "This will not be another 18-month Washington commission that yields an unreadable and unactionable report."

DeVos made the rounds on Capitol Hill this week, meeting with both Murray and Sen. Lamar Alexander, who chairs the Senate's education panel, as well as a host of other lawmakers.

Taylor Haulsee, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Republican, tweeted out a photo from Alexander's meeting with DeVos and Murray and described it as "productive." Haulsee said the chairman "looks forward to working with the administration and colleagues in Congress on steps that the federal government can take to help our states and local communities improve the safety of our schools."

The meetings came days after DeVos was tapped by the President to lead the federal commission on school safety, and after she was the subject of television interviews that called into question whether she supported Trump's approach to securing the nation's schools.

White House officials were alarmed by the interview, and DeVos' failure to defend the administration's newly proposed school safety measures, according to two sources familiar with their reaction, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders this week seemed to downplay the secretary's role during her daily press briefing on Monday.

Asked whether DeVos would be the face of the commission, Sanders said, "I think that the President is going to be the lead on school safety when it comes to this administration."

Sanders added that the focus is "not one or two interviews, but on actual policy."

In a rare move, DeVos took to Twitter on Monday to defend her comments, suggesting that some of her comments had been unfairly left out of the interview when it aired.

"I'm fighting every day for every student, in every school -- public and private -- to have a world-class education. We owe that to our children," she wrote.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 143547

Reported Deaths: 4612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin25846603
Cuyahoga17041642
Hamilton12698307
Montgomery7443152
Lucas7091357
Butler558699
Summit5073248
Marion305747
Mahoning2988279
Warren289348
Stark2723168
Pickaway262844
Lorain225386
Delaware211620
Fairfield199950
Columbiana191880
Licking185362
Trumbull1847131
Clark170738
Wood167971
Clermont161120
Lake157249
Medina142038
Allen136567
Miami134149
Greene133827
Portage106466
Mercer104417
Tuscarawas91020
Wayne89866
Erie89644
Ross84922
Richland78119
Madison77612
Darke75939
Belmont70527
Geauga70147
Hancock6559
Ashtabula64148
Athens5882
Lawrence58818
Auglaize5629
Shelby5619
Sandusky55420
Putnam53723
Huron5217
Union4832
Ottawa46430
Scioto4596
Seneca43514
Preble41813
Holmes3707
Muskingum3672
Jefferson3184
Henry29412
Logan2913
Champaign2873
Perry2849
Defiance27910
Clinton27813
Knox27815
Brown2732
Hardin24913
Morrow2472
Washington24623
Fulton2321
Coshocton23011
Jackson2284
Fayette2256
Ashland2224
Highland2203
Crawford2176
Wyandot20112
Williams1973
Gallia17912
Meigs1709
Hocking1599
Guernsey1557
Pike1530
Carroll1497
Adams1204
Van Wert1103
Monroe10618
Paulding1010
Harrison601
Morgan460
Vinton453
Noble260
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 66°
Huntington
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 67°
Decatur
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 68°
Cool, Sunny Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events