The Slatest

Obama’s Education Secretary: Parents Should Pull Children From Schools Until Gun Laws Change

Mourners say a prayer after leaving flowers in front of Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.
Mourners say a prayer after leaving flowers in front of Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan thinks it’s time to stop proposing halfway measures when it comes to gun control. School shooting have become such an epidemic that it is “tragically necessary” for parents to pull their children out of schools until the underlying situation changes. Duncan expressed that idea through a tweet that referred to an earlier message by Peter Cunningham, a former education department employee who tweeted that “maybe it’s time for America’s 50 million school parents to simply pull their kids out of school until we have better gun laws.”

Duncan, who served under President Obama, wrote that his family “is all in” with that idea “if we can do this at scale.” The former education secretary characterized a potential move of that nature as “brilliant.” A day after eight students and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting in a high school in Santa Fe, Texas the he wondered: “What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe?”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Duncan recognized his idea wasn’t the most practical in the world, but insisted some type of radical approach to the problem was necessary in order for things to change. “It’s wildly impractical and difficult,” Duncan said. “But I think it’s wildly impractical and difficult that kids are shot when they are sent to school.” Duncan also said he’d be open to other alternatives. “I’m open to different ideas, but I’m not open to doing nothing,” Duncan, who is a managing partner at Chicago Cred, an organization that works to reduce gun violence in Chicago, said. “We will see whether this gains traction, or something does, but we have to think radically.”