Obama-era education leaders are urging parents to pull their children out of public schools until elected officials change gun laws. In the wake of the Houston-area school shooting, Peter Cunningham, a former U.S. Education Department staffer, tweeted Friday, “Maybe it’s time for America’s 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws”:
Maybe it's time for America's 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws.https://t.co/JCBYstcHEA
— Peter Cunningham (@PCunningham57) May 18, 2018
“This is brilliant, and tragically necessary,” responded Obama education secretary Arne Duncan. “What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?”
This is brilliant, and tragically necessary.
What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?
My family is all in if we can do this at scale.
Parents, will you please join us? https://t.co/Yo4wsFuJI5
— Arne Duncan (@arneduncan) May 18, 2018
The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday:
Duncan said in an interview Saturday that the idea was intended to be provocative, but that an aggressive approach like a school boycott is needed if gun laws are ever going to change. He has school-aged children and said if this idea were to gain traction, his family would participate.
‘It’s wildly impractical and difficult,’ Duncan said. ‘But I think it’s wildly impractical and difficult that kids are shot when they are sent to school.’
‘I’m open to other ideas, I’m open to different ideas, but I’m not open to doing nothing,’ he added. ‘We will see whether this gains traction, or something does, but we have to think radically.’
According to the Tribune report, the idea of pulling all public school children out indefinitely is garnering support.
“I’m in – let’s pick a date and start a movement no politician can ignore,” Jim Manly, the superintendent of KIPP Public Charter Schools in New York City, reportedly said.
The plan is an ironic twist coming from Democrats, who typically promote public education as a panacea as they put down private schools and homeschooling. It arrives as a national coalition of U.S. parents and state leaders has launched a petition to end the U.S. Education Department. The petition, created at whitehouse.gov, centers on the return of education policy back to parents and local communities.
While the Democratic leaders are calling for more federal involvement in education—this time federal laws that will upend the Second Amendment—United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) says they want the federal government out of education altogether and are “fed up with being ignored on education policy.”
Regarding school safety, USPIE states, “No one should accept school violence of any sort, from bullying to homicide.” It also recommends private education options to protect children from violence due to the rash of evidence public schools are not safe environments for children. The group asserts:
The current ‘School Walkout Movement’ purports to be concerned about preventing student deaths. But instead of being an authentic emotional response to shootings in schools or a genuine student-led movement, multiple reports have documented a well-financed, highly organized movement to advocate a specific political agenda — to restrict the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment to self-defense through firearms ownership.
“USPIE believes students, staff, and the public are being emotionally manipulated into supporting ‘Gun Control’ as the solution to the problem,” the group maintains. It offers three alternative solutions: investigating the local, state, and federal failed systems that allowed shooters to carry out attacks and holding accountable the officials who are negligent; eliminating “Gun Free Zone” signs that likely invite would-be assassins into school areas; and allowing private schools and local school districts to determine their own policies for staff concealed carry.
Another option would be reversing Obama-era policies that recent school shootings and research are showing have increased school violence by reducing penalties and records of dangerous acts committed by violent students, and keeping them in classrooms with peaceful students. The PROMISE program in Broward County, Florida, site of the February shooting, was one such program purported to end the “school to prison pipeline” for minority students.
Timothy Sternberg, a former assistant principal who helped run the PROMISE program from 2014 to 2017, told the Washington Times the failure of school district officials to follow up on why the confessed Parkland shooter did not show up for the program after being referred to it while in middle school amounts to possible “negligence.” Sternberg said Cruz should have been sent before the county delinquency court when he failed to show up for PROMISE.
Although the Parkland shooter was enrolled in 2015 at a district school for students with emotional and behavioral disorders, he was still found to have committed 58 rule infractions at Westglades Middle School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, noted the Sun Sentinel. After each incident, Cruz was given either a detention or suspension for a day or two, without any attempt to review his multitude of infractions.
This is directly due to policies Duncan put into place to reduce penalties for misbehaving students under the guise of “restorative justice.” As RealClearInvestigations discovered:
[Broward County Superintendent] Runcie had been working closely with Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the reforms ever since landing the Broward job in 2011, using as a reference the name of the Cabinet secretary, his former boss in the Chicago school system.
Applications for federal grants reveal that Runcie’s plan factored into approval of tens of millions of dollars in federal funding from Duncan’s department.
In January 2014, his department issued new discipline guidelines strongly recommending that the nation’s schools use law enforcement measures and out-of-school suspensions as a last resort. Announced jointly by Duncan and then-Attorney General Eric Holder, the new procedures came as more than friendly guidance from Uncle Sam – they also came with threats of federal investigations and defunding for districts that refused to fully comply.
In 2015, the White House spotlighted Runcie’s leading role in the effort during a summit called ‘Rethink School Discipline.’ Broward, the nation’s sixth largest school district, is one of 53 major districts across the country to adopt the federal guidelines…
Consequently, the Florida school shooter never had a criminal record—a red flag in a background check. He ultimately was able to obtain a firearm. The parents’ coalition observes what appear to be defective policies based on social justice theory pushed by federal officials.
“Until policy makers implement proven school safety strategies, and until schools stop teaching politically-biased social justice values, the only way parents can raise children safely to be well educated American citizens is to teach at home or in good private schools,” USPIE asserts.