Speaking at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa, Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) responded to an audience member’s question about what she would do about teen bullying in schools by reiterating her oft-repeated call for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education.
“I think that this is an issue that needs to be handled at the local level,” Bachmann said. “I don’t like to have the federal government involved in telling the local schools what to do. For one thing, there was no federal Department of Education until the late 1970s. So, I don’t want the federal government involved. I actually want to end the federal Department of Education.”
Republican presidential hopefuls have long expressed their desire for less federal intervention in American public schools, and most agree that the U.S. Department of Education should play a smaller role than it currently does. But Bachmann and Ron Paul are the only two that are calling for the department’s complete elimination.
She had also said before at a California rally last month that bullying “is not a federal issue,” according to CBS News.
Bachmann said Friday that “bullying is a bad thing,” and the way to address the issue is by lessening the federal role in public schools to empower parents “so they can have a stronger hand to stand up for their kids.”
She added, “It’s $1.8 billion that we spend on the federal Department of Education, and I want to send that money, I want to make sure that money goes back to the schools so that the schools can handle these issues.”
The presidential hopeful was cast in the spotlight on issues surrounding school bullying as nine teens in a school district that falls in her Congressional district had committed suicide over the last two years. Several of those students were gay and reportedly acted as a result of being bullied, according to The Minnesota Independent.
As stories and lawsuits against the district unfolded through the summer months, Bachmann stayed silent on the system’s teen suicides.