Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolon Wednesday morning, where she briefly met with students who seemed to make clear that she was not a welcome guest.
Although DeVos was slated to “connect with students and teachers” during the event—which was closed to the media—Carly Novell, a senior and editor at the school’s student publication The Eagle Eye, and a survivor of the massacre, tweeted her honest assessment of the visit and said DeVos refused to meet with students.
That was basically the sentiment other students offered up when DeVos’ visit was announced:
In a press conference—which abruptly ended after less than 10 minutes when reporters pressed DeVos for answers about gun control and arming teachers—DeVos condescendingly said the student newspaper reporters who followed her on the walkthrough are “obviously very, very interested in seeing what adults are going to do about this, about this whole situation.”
“I told them that I’m very interested in hearing from them,” she added.
Asked about her previous remarks that she’s in favor of arming teachers—she infamously cited the potential for grizzly bear invasions as one reason for guns in schools—DeVos demurred.
“Let’s be clear, I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is an oversimplification and a mischaracterization, really,” she began. “The concept is for those schools and those communities that opt to do this...to have people who are expert in being able to defend and having lots and lots of training in order to do so.”
She went on to say that arming teachers “should be an option for schools” but “not one that need be mandated for every community.” Asked whether she talked to the Stoneman Douglas students about the possibility of arming teachers, DeVos tersely responded: “We didn’t have a conversation about that.”
“I was just there to be there,” she said. “I told the student newspaper reporters that I would love to come back sometime.”
Judging how this visit went, along with the chilly reception DeVos seems to get wherever she goes, I wouldn’t count on it.
Splinter reached out to the secretary’s office for clarification on whether DeVos formally met with Stoneman students. We’ll update this post if they respond.