Someone in the Education Department apparently thought it was a good idea to send Betsy DeVos to visit the site of the Parkland school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead on February 14.
Not surprisingly it did not go well.
Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School expressed their anger both on social media and to the White House official about the lack of communication and proposed solutions on campus by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“Do something unexpected: Answer our questions,” student Aly Sheehy wrote to DeVos on Twitter. “You came to our school just for publicity and avoided our questions for the 90 minutes you were actually here. How about you do your job?”
Some students even complained about her even coming to the school.
“Literally, no one asked this,” replied student Sarah Chadwick to a Washington press release announcing DeVos’ appearance at the school.
Student leader Emma Gonzalez, who has become the face of the protests since calling out President Donald Trump and politicians who continue to take money from the NRA also made her displeasure over the planned visit from Betsy DeVos known as well. To over her over 1.2 million followers on Twitter, she wrote, “good thing I was already planning on sleeping in that day,” in response to the same press release.
Betsy DeVos stands in strong opposition to many of the students’ political beliefs, having previously said that she supported policy that would implement a program for school staff to be trained to carry firearms.
“Let’s be clear, I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is an over simplification. It isn’t a program that needs to be required or mandated for every community,” she briefly told reporters at the press conference following her visit.
After being pressed to explain further, Betsy DeVos abruptly walked away, ignoring all further questions and ending the press conference.
According to the NY Daily News, DeVos told reporters that she was accompanied by two school journalists throughout the day, and promised to return for a sit-down interview.
However, Carly Desmond, editor of The Eagle Eye, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School newspaper, tweeted that DeVos “refused to even meet/speak with students. I don’t understand the point of her being here,” she continued.
Desmond clarified what did occur on her end: “One student from each publication (tv prod./newspaper/yearbook) was able to see her and take pictures of her, no one followed her,” she wrote. “We are part of a school publication and it’s our job to report on a public figure visiting the school.”
Following DeVos’ visit, Desmond tweeted to the Education Secretary: “How do you say you are committed to listening and acting when you did neither of those today?”
Talk and dribble
Interestingly enough, Dwayne Wade also visited that day and received a warm warm welcome from the students.
“Can Dwayne Wade be our new secretary of education? He’s done 1000 times more than Betsy DeVos today,” wrote Desmond on Twitter.
Wade was overcome with emotion last month when he learned that Joaquin Oliver—a 17-year-old boy killed during the tragic shooting—was buried in his jersey.
“This is Joaquin Oliver,” Wade wrote on Twitter accompanied with a picture of Oliver. “He was one of the 17 young lives that were lost tragically at Douglas HighSchool in Parkland. Joaquin was one of many that i heard was excited about my return to Miami and yesterday was buried in my jersey. This is why we will not just SHUT up and dribble!”
Wade is just one of the many celebrities who has called for increased awareness around gun safety in the wake of the massacre. Excited students and faculty posted pictures and video all over social media when word got around that the Miami Heat basketball star had dropped by.
“I just wanted to come and say I’m inspired by all of you,” Wade told the students as they crowded around him.
“As someone out here in the public eye, I’m proud to say I’m from this state because of you guys, because of the future of this world because of you guys,” he continued.
The NBA guard, who was coincidentally traded back to the Miami Heat just a week before a gunman killed 17 classmates and faculty members at the high school on Feb. 14, has vowed to use his platform to keep a spotlight on both the victims and the survivors.
Many of the students he spoke to were directly involved in organizing the upcoming March for Our Lives to demand stronger gun legislation.