- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2018


Shame, shame, shame.

Arne Duncan, who was Barack Obama’s right-hand man on public education a few short years ago, earned the Knucklehead of the Year award over the weekend when he urged parents to keep their youngsters out of school “until gun laws [are] changed to keep them safe.”

His tweeted words of encouragement came Friday, the same day eight teens and two teachers at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, were gunned down by a trench coat-wearing student who had entered an art class and opened fire. Armed with a handgun and a shotgun stolen from his dad, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, also wounded 13 others.

The Santa Fe High School shooting followed the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a teen mowed down 34 people, killing 17 of them.

Then on Friday, along comes the executive director of the Education Post, Peter Cunningham, himself a former assistant secretary of education, who tweeted: “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.”

Mr. Cunningham’s stupid tweet was followed by that of Mr. Duncan, a privileged, educated and well-known American who put fingers to keyboard and tweeted: “This is brilliant, and tragically necessary. What if no children went to school until gun laws changed to keep them safe? My family is all in if we can do this at scale. Parents, will you please join us?”

Precisely who is “us,” Mr. Duncan?

D.C.-area victims and grieving families who have lost their lives and young loved ones to violence outside of a schoolhouse?

The dozens of people of Chicago who have been victims of violence this year, including the three-dozen Chicagoans who have been shot since the Santa Fe shooting, two of whom have died?

And speaking of your hometown Chicago, have you spent considerable time there in recent years, hung out preaching peace and working on the South Side to end the bloodshed?

Do you even know how to create a homemade sign advocating stopping the killings?

Mr. Duncan, it seems, has settled into the swamp, an inactive desk squatter who can no longer see through the brackish water thick with absurdities.

Children are safest inside a schoolhouse. Danger lurks outside. Inside, kids are safe when the grown-ups are paying attention.

Clearly, they weren’t clear-eyed on Friday in Sante Fe: With temps in the mid-70s, no one questioned Dimitrios about his trench coat.

We aren’t banning trench coats, nor should we.

Mr. Cunningham wasn’t banned for his call for a school boycott, either. Indeed, the name Arne Duncan, ex-education chief, however, made the headlines for obvious reasons.

Mr. Duncan should spend more time with the children and parents at the Sue Duncan Children’s Center, where since 1961 his mom, Sue, has tended to the after-school lives of Chicago’s youths — the operative word being after-school.

Yep, Arne Duncan needs to get out of the swamp, clear his mind and apologize. Perhaps a game or two of hoops, as well, and a visit to the real world, where boycotting school is not an option for any strata.

What if no children went to school until gun laws change? While there are no guarantees in life, boycotting school would likely offer little more than a life sentence of ignorance, stupidity and violence.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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