Fiscal Commission: Cut Fed Safe & Drug Free Schools Office

Posted by on November 18, 2010

The Federal Deficit Commission is recommending elimination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools, saving the federal government $1.8 billion dollars.

Recommendation 16 on page 7 of the Commission’s preliminary report recommends:

“16. Eliminate the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools.
In the President’s budget, funding for the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools is more than double the allocation from 2008. This option eliminates the office, saving about $1.8 billion in 2015. While school safety should be protected, violence and drug abuse are problems that occur far less on school grounds than elsewhere. As CBO points out in the Budget Options Volume 2 report, children are more likely to be victims of violence away from school, and while drug use is more common than violence, it still occurs infrequently on school property. Further, the results hoped for in creation of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools have not been demonstrated.”
While I question the Commission’s downplaying of the extent of school crime and violence, I agree that the Office has NOT consistently demonstrated the results many in the school safety and education fields hope would be demonstrated. 
I have been an outspoken voice for enhancing federal school safety policy and funding.  But given the recent radical and politicized shifts in policy and funding in the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, the Fiscal Commission recommendation might be in the best interest not only of the federal deficit, but also for school safety.  Keeping the Office, and its current policies and proposed funding, appears to be increasingly doing more harm than good for local school districts.
What say you?
Ken Trump
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