Students are evacuated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during a shooting incident in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 14, 2018 in a still image...

White House’s commission on school safety will ignore guns

Last week, a 13-year-old reporter from Time for Kids magazine, asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders what, specifically, the Trump administration is going to prevent school shootings. She didn’t exactly answer the question directly, though Sanders pointed to a meeting of Donald Trump’s “School Safety Commission.”

It was an unsatisfying response – in large part because the “commission,” created by the president in the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., doesn’t appear to be doing any meaningful work.

But perhaps I’ve been too cynical. Maybe the panel, led by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, is prepared to take the issue seriously, will ask important questions, and propose credible solutions.

Or maybe not.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday appeared to back away from studying guns’ impact on school violence, telling a Senate panel that the topic was not a priority of the Federal Commission on School Safety.

Her statement seemed to contradict the mission statement of the commission, which President Donald Trump formed after 17 students and teachers were shot dead Feb. 14 at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

As NBC News’ report on this makes clear, the literal description of the commission’s purpose includes references to firearms. And yet, when Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) asked whether the panel would “look at the role of firearms as it relates to gun violence in our schools,” the Republican cabinet secretary replied, “That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se.”

I see. So, Donald Trump responded to deadly gun violence in schools by creating a commission that will ignore guns.

The panel, which has had a grand total of one meeting so far, will reportedly prepare some kind of report on school violence by the end of the year.

I try not to pre-judge these things, but it’s probably best not to set expectations too high for the commission’s findings.