President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to run the US education department has suggested teachers and administrators at remote schools could be allowed to carry guns.
Betsy DeVos told senators considering her nomination that the measure might serve to protect children from grizzly bears in remote areas where the dangerous animals could be nearby.
When asked whether guns belong in schools, she said: “I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide.”
Ms DeVos was testifying before the Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee when she cited the example of a rural Wyoming school that she said might benefit from having educators armed with guns.
“I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” she said.
She added: “My heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence.”
Defenders of Wildlife, a national conservation organisation, says the bears are found in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, with possibly a small number in Washington state.
Ms DeVos is from Michigan, where she has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools.
Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources says the black bear is the only species of bear found in the state.