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March 14, 2018

Does Trump’s school safety plan make schools safer?

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See the extension activity below to share your class’s own solutions to gun violence in schools @NewsHourExtra via Twitter using #StudentGunReformIdeas.

Video summary:
  1. On Sunday, President Donald Trump’s shared his school safety plan which includes arming teachers, expanding mental health and improving the National Instant Criminal Background System. The plan does not endorse expanding background checks.
  2. Trump backpedaled on his support for raising the minimum age to buy assault weapons from 18 to 21, after facing pressure from the National Rifle Association (NRA) who is against the idea. The Administration’s plan does not expand background checks.
  3. Trump’s proposed program was criticized for not going far enough to address the problem of gun violence. See the video below for more information.
  4. Arming teachers could make schools less safe, given accuracy problems and the potential to draw more shooters to schools, argued Katherine Newman, author of “Rampage.” The idea is “a cynical gun lobby ploy to sell more guns,” said Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America. She said the plan places the onus on the states, and not the federal government, to solve school shootings and panders to the NRA.
  5. Newman applauded the move to support mental health based on the high number of school shooters who have been diagnosed with mental health issues.
  6. The President’s plan includes creating a gun safety study commission, an idea he ridiculed at a rally the day before, saying such commissions were full of mere talk.

Discussion questions:
  1. Essential question: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Trump Administration’s plan to end gun violence in schools?
  2. Do you feel the plan will keep students safe? Why or why not?
  3. How does Trump’s plan place the onus on solving gun violence in America’s schools on state governments and not the federal government?
  4. Do you think Trump and Republican lawmakers that he criticized a few weeks ago are afraid to stand up to the National Rifle Association? Explain your response.
  5. Should the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle or long gun be raised from 18 to 21? Why or why not?
Extension activity:

Activists install 7000 shoes on the lawn in front of the U.S. Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2018. Organizers said the installation represents the number of lives lost since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

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