The latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has rocked the country to the core. While there have been numerous mass shootings over the past decade, this one feels different. The high school students that are the surviving victims of the shooting are calling for major change, and they have organized a nationwide school walkout for those youngsters around the country who want to see stricter gun control legislation passed.
While gun control has been a key talking point for many Democrats over the years, there is at least one high-ranking Republican that is joining the Democrats in calling for action. That Republican is the current Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos.
Devos did not specifically call for any policy measures, but she did publicly plead for Congress to hold hearings concerning gun violence and mental health. In a radio interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Devos said the shooting should inspire Congress to have difficult conversations about more robust “tracking.” She also said that Congress should address the difficult task of legislating tougher laws concerning mental health when it comes to the sale of firearms. The secretary said she wanted to see Congress actually have an impact on the future of gun violence in America.
Her remarks did not go unnoticed. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) publicly agreed with the secretary by saying that families across the nation were tired of waiting for Congress to act.
Representatives Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) publicly urged the Republican chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to hold hearings on the pressing issue of gun violence following the remarks by Mrs. Devos. The secretary seems to have spurned bipartisan efforts to address the deadly scourge of mass shootings across the country.
Unfortunately, the committee has not held a hearing addressing gun violence since February of 2013. But a wave of activism is sweeping the nation and the midterm elections are right around the corner. Perhaps Betsy Devos, as well as a swell of activism across America, has helped to push Congress towards a debate on gun violence.
The Secretary of Education has been touring the country promoting her ideas for reforming education in America. She’s been reaching out to the youth of America by making appearances with pop culture icons like Pit Bull down in Miami. The secretary envisions an America where students and their families have a choice in which schools they attend in their area so that they can get the best educational environment for their needs.
But the secretary is now forced to focus on gun violence as the epidemic has once again hit a school. Falling under her jurisdiction as the Secretary of Education, Devos is in a perfect position to be the voice of change when it comes to keeping kids safe from gun violence. Let’s hope that Congress hears this bipartisan effort to debate gun safety in Congress and that something effective comes from the difficult conversations ahead.
Follow Betsy DeVos on Facebook.