Mandatory explusion for gun possession at schools
Alan Korwin has an interesting note (via his email list): mandatory explusion policies at schools were driven by a Clinton-era federal law stripping schools of Federal funding unless they enacted such policies. (Another good reason, BTW, for curtailing Federal funding. Local units can as easily tax and spend as the Feds -- both get their money from the same place, the taxpayers -- and Federal funding equals Federal ability to strongarm policies and thus loss of local control of education). The Federal restriction on funding has been repealed, but local policies often remain. Click on read more for Alan's post.
For Immediate Release
August 15, 2005
Full contact info at end
New research has uncovered an "inventive" federal procedure used to require
local schools to adopt a national student-expulsion plan. Once set, the enabling
law was "omitted," leaving little trace of this federal gun policy operating
on the nation's local schools.
In President Clinton's highly publicized Educational Goals 2000, the federal government
banned itself from giving money to any school that didn't expel students for having
a gun at school (20 USC § 3351). Narrow exceptions were allowed for officials and
authorized use, and case-by-case review. Local school systems, to continue receiving
the funds they depend upon, had to provide assurance they would expel students who
This forced schools nationwide to quickly implement gun-possession expulsion rules,
nearly opposite of the gun-safety training atmosphere that gun-rights advocates
recommend. Until the 1960s, many schools had firing ranges on campus, and guns could
be brought to school for many reasons, such as varsity competition, ROTC training,
hunting on the way home after class, and even show-and-tell.
Seven months later, with expulsion policies cobbled into place, the law was quietly
"omitted" from a general amendment of the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act of 1965, of which it was a part. That removed the ban Congress had placed on
its ability to spend.
In other words, government can again fund any school, maintaining the influence
that implies, even if the school has no expulsion rules. Left in place though are
the expulsion requirements schools everywhere had already implemented. Detecting
and deciphering this omission in federal law was arguably the most challenging research
for the tenth anniversary edition of Gun Laws of America, just released.
"Expulsion is an obviously inadequate response to a child who has a gun at
school with evil intent," says Alan Korwin, the book's author. "That's
why we have deadly serious laws against crime. On the other hand, this approach
to gun safety, and the blind fear this law encouraged toward the wholesome American
tradition of firearms possession, may be irreparable. It's time to actively invest
in training and safety programs, instead of bans and ignorance, isn't it?"
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