Congressman Cleaver’s Statement on the Federal School Safety Commission Report

Dec 19, 2018
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) - Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II condemns the recently released Federal School Safety Commission Report. The Trump administration’s report is a NRA-backed proposal which recommends arming teachers instead of focusing on making schools safer.

“The report ignores a common denominator of all of the tragic school shootings our country has suffered, and that is, easy access to assault style firearms designed for war,” said Congressman Cleaver.

In 2017, there were nearly 40,000 gun deaths in the United States, the highest total in decades.

“Putting guns in the hands of teachers is not an effective strategy and could easily lead to more senseless shootings in our schools, “ said Congressman Cleaver.

The report is a missed opportunity to expand the use of evidence-based, comprehensive approaches to preventing violence in schools and building stronger relationships between students, educators, and the community. Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), anti-bullying programs, mental health support are some of the many proven strategies to deescalate situations and help students before the get to the point of wanting to harm themselves or others.

The Commission also recommends full rescission of the Obama administration’s 2014 school discipline guidance, which assists school districts in eliminating disparities in how Black students, boys, and students with disabilities are disciplined compared to their classmates.

“The Trump Administration’s School Safety Commission Report is not only a missed opportunity to ensure every student is both safe and supported in the classroom, but it is also a blatant affront to communities of color. Its suggestion that federal civil rights enforcement — and not the prevalence of firearms — is to blame for school shootings is baseless and wrong,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA).

“We must do more to stop discrimination in our schools. This report will only cause further criminalization of students of color for non-criminal or minor offenses,” said Congressman Cleaver.

The Department of Education’s school safety report can be found here.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Heather Frierson at 816-842-4545 or A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.