Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently visited the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She went in front of the community, which has just been rocked by massive gun violence, and defended President Donald Trump’s decision to “arm more teachers.”
In a meeting that frustrated students and reporters alike, DeVos repeatedly dodged questions about “specific reforms” and wanted to see what “the adults” would do about the current security situation.
The visit was barred from media coverage. The Department of Education said in a press release that the tour was “closed to press out of respect for the students and faculty.”
In a press conference with reporters at the nearby Fort Lauderdale Marriott in Coral Springs, Florida, after her visit to the school, she supported Trump’s proposal to “arm teachers” in order to make schools safer, which was reportedly abruptly ended once the reporters started dwelling on the security reform territory.
“I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is oversimplification and a mischaracterization, really. I think that the concept is to, for those schools and those communities that opt to do this, as they have in Texas, and as they have in Polk County and other places around the country, to have people who are expert in being able to defend and having lots and lots of training in order to do so.”
However, she made no comments about armed school officer Scot Peterson’s disengagement in trying to prevent the Florida school shooting or the Georgia teacher who was arrested for shooting in his school, nor did she talk about budget proposals ripping student health and safety despite claims it was the education department’s No. 1 priority.
Instead she praised the students as “inspirational” for their interest in gun law reforms.
“They are obviously very very interested in seeing what adults are going to do about this whole situation and what we’re going to do to find common ground and common solutions going forward,” she stated at a press conference.
One would think the education secretary would be one of “the adults” responsible for coming up with amends and standardize solution to end gun violence specifically in schools.
The students took to Twitter to post about their frustration with DeVos’ visit.
Do something unexpected: answer our questions. You came to our school just for publicity and avoided our questions for the 90 minutes you were actually here. How about you actually do your job? #neveragain #DoYourJob https://t.co/4Ts0INq0gR— Aly Sheehy?? (@Aly_Sheehy) March 7, 2018
Secretary of education Betsy Devos spoke to me and only a hand full of students. She did not properly answer my only question. She did not sit down with any students and asked what we wanted. Douglas has 3,000 students. None of them were invited. pic.twitter.com/1RXYDZJtTb— Kyra (@longlivekcx) March 7, 2018
Betsy Devos came to my school, talked to three people, and pet a dog. This is incase the press tries to say something else later— Alanna//#NEVERAGAIN (@AgCI3Cu2) March 7, 2018
I thought she would at least give us her "thoughts and prayers," but she refused to even meet/speak with students. I don't understand the point of her being here— Carly Novell (@car_nove) March 7, 2018
The education secretary has long been criticized for her advocacy of charter school and her lack of experience as an educator.
DeVos’ continuous refusal to tackle tough questions by journalists led them to ask her purpose for visiting, to which she replied, she was “just there to be with the students,” but from the Twitter accounts of the students, it seems she failed to do that too.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Yuri Gripas, Reuters