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Wyoming teacher smacks down Betsy DeVos: Fences — not guns — are enough to keep bears out of schools

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A Wyoming teacher knocked down claims by Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary — who argued that guns were necessary in schools to protect against bear attacks.

During her confirmation hearings on Tuesday, Betsy DeVos told Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who represented Sandy Hook families as a congressman, that regulation of firearms in schools should be left up to states and local government.

“I’d imagine (in Wyoming) there’s a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies,” DeVos told the lawmaker.

Her remarks were apparently based on an anecdote shared earlier Tuesday by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), who told DeVos about wildlife fences used to keep bears and other animals from wandering onto school property in the state.

A former teacher at Wyoming’s Valley Elementary School told Mic that those fences, along with bear spray, were “absolutely” sufficient to keep wild animals away from students.

“No firearms in our schools!” Morrow told the website. “We do have bear spray but have never had a problem that would require using it.”

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Bears have attacked students and teachers in recent years, but there have been no reports of such attacks on school grounds.

Several schools in Alaska were placed on lockdown after a reported bear attack in November, but police later determined an 18-year-old student had injured himself after encountering a grizzly and falling backwards in surprise.

A teacher in the same town, Seward, was injured in late October while walking his dog before dawn at the municipal airport.

Two hunters were injured by bears this fall in Wyoming, but neither incident took place near any schools.

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Bear attacks in the U.S. are actually quite rare, according to Backpacker.

Most bear attacks, when they do occur, are generally limited to hikers and hunters in wilderness areas.

In Yellowstone National Park, where bear attacks are probably most frequent, the chances of being injured by a bear are about one in 2.1 million.

By contrast, 63 people were killed and 156 were wounded by guns in 201 school shootings between Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2016.

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A growing body of evidence suggests pepper spay, and not guns, is a more effective self-defense strategy during close encounters with bears, which have a thick hide and skull.

One study, published in 2012, found that gun owners suffered the same injury rates during bear encounters regardless of whether they used their weapons or not.

That same study found that bear spray had a better success rate in a variety of situations than firearms.

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Questions swirl over Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s relationship with billionaire landlord

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A new report draws attention to a controversial mine in Minnesota, raising questions as to whether a potential conflict of interest could have paved the way for its construction.

A conglomerate owned by Chilean billionaire Andrónico Luksic purchased a $5.5 million house in Washington shortly before President Donald Trump assumed office, according to the New York Times. The home was then rented to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, respectively the new president's son-in-law and daughter, raising questions about whether a potential conflict of interest arose for the new administration in regards to policy pertaining to Antofagasta, the conglomerate controlled by Luksic.

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Trump’s horsewhip-carrying chief of protocol will resign after intimidating State Department staff: report

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President Donald Trump's chief of protocol plans to step down just ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan, according to Bloomberg News.

Sean Lawler, whose job includes assisting the president in diplomatic talks overseas and with foreign leaders in the White House, faces an investigation from the State Department's inspector general for intimidating subordinates, including carrying a horsewhip around the office.

The president reportedly did not care for Lawler, at one point asking officials why he still works at the White House.

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Jerry Falwell, Jr blasted as ‘un-Christian prat’ after trying to defend Donald Trump in battle with Southern Baptist ethics chief

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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. was ripped online for attempting to rationalize President Donald Trump's detention camps for children.

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, posted on Twitter an Associated Press story on the "perilous conditions" at a Texas Border Patrol station holding 300 children.

"The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this," Moore wrote.

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