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PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – The Federal School Safety commission set up after the deadly shooting in Parkland will not be looking at the role of guns in school violence.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made the surprising admission while being grilled by a senate committee Tuesday.
What may be even more surprising is some of the victim’s families from Stoneman Douglas are ok with it.
In the weeks after the shooting at the school the families lobbied the Florida Legislature for school safety.
In the end, the legislature passed measure that has a lot to do with guns, including allowing teachers to be armed and raising the minimum age to purchase a gun.
Now at least one of the parents is asking Congress to stop debating guns, and start taking action.
Education Secretary chairs the commission.
Tuesday Sen. Patrick Leahy, a democrat from Vermont asked her repeatedly “Will your commission look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?”
“That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,” DeVos responded.
It was the first admission that the commission formed after the shooting in Parkland will focus on safety and not guns.
It’s in direct conflict with a White House statement that said age requirements to buy a gun would be looked at.
Surprised, Leahy responded, “I see. So you’re studying gun violence but not concerning the role of guns.”
“We’re actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe as well,” DeVos fired back.
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was shot nine times on Valentine’s Day, agrees with DeVos.
“We should be focusing on school safety first. Fix the schools. There are so much needs to be done at the level. Metal detectors. Armed guards. Perimeters. Fencing. We should put our efforts into something that we all can agree on. And that’s school safety,” Pollack told CBS4.
Pollack argues that the gun debate could go on for years, but a debate won’t solve the issue his child faced or countless others will face.
Almost four months since the shooting the school safety debate has become increasingly political.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine, running for Governor, seized DeVos’ testimony with a statement Tuesday saying quote, “Betsy DeVos’ decision to not investigate the role of guns in school safety reflects the Trump administration’s continued disregard for our children’s safety. This year, more children are dying in our schools than servicemen and women on the battlefield.”
Pollack says he doesn’t want to take sides in the gun debate, he just wants action.
His answer? Metal detectors at every school.
“The judges are safe at the courthouses. There is metal detectors, security. There is no gun debate for that. Or at the airports. You are going to go on an airplane, does anyone talk about well we are going through metal detectors, let’s have a gun debate? So why is there a gun debate when we talk about schools?” he said.
Pollack says if he gets metal detectors at every school, he would be satisfied.
The Federal Commission on School Safety holds its first public hearing Wednesday.
They are expected to turn in their recommendations at the end of the school year.