In Parkland, Florida today, Betsy Devos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on the student’s first full day back since the mass shooting on Feb. 14, and things did not go well for her or the students.
The shooting on Valentine’s Day left 17 students and faculty from the school dead and the rest of the students to pick up the pieces. Devos’ visit to the school today, sadly, was precisely what we have all come to expect from the Trump administration, empty and pointless.
Bells And Whistles
Devos arrived early with a full police escort and a four-car motorcade. She then toured the school with a number of dignitaries including Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie, members of the school board Rosalyn Osgood and Abbie Freedman, as well as six students.
Devos spent her time at the school ignoring student’s questions, interrupting a counseling session, and laying a wreath in front of the building where the gunman stood firing his AR-15.
The tour did not allow any press to attend, but the students who were there said Devos refused to answer questions about what her agency was going to do about helping prevent another mass shooting.
One of the students who accompanied Devos on the tour, 17-year-old Isabelle Robinson said she asked Devos to come back and answer some of the student’s questions. Devos replied only that she would have a sit-down with the students, “later on down the road.”
‘She Gave Me A BS Answer’
18-year-old editor-in-chief of the school yearbook Kyra Parrow was present at the counseling session that Devos barged in on in the media center. Parrow used the opportunity to ask Devos directly what she would do to prevent future mass shootings.
“She gave me a BS answer,” said Parrow. “Nothing was informative, nothing about it told me anything about her agenda.”
And what exactly is her agenda?
Last week the Department of Education awarded $1 million to Broward County Schools, which includes Parkland, called the Project School Emergency Response to Violence. The funds are meant to pay for teacher’s overtime, mental health services, and additional security.
However, later she spoke about her real agenda at a press conference at a Marriott Hotel in Coral Springs. It was there that she reiterated her support for arming teachers, which is a proposal the Florida Senate just approved unanimously earlier this week.
Students Were Not Alone
The students were not alone in their derision of Devos and her visit. Indeed, faculty at the school called her motives into question, as well.
“Is she coming for a photo op and pretending she cares, and pretending she’s going to do something,” said Greg Pittman, an American history teacher. “Are they bringing additional pay for teachers, funding for security, and training for police officers to be on our campuses?”
Then Pittman hit the nail on the head when he added the following:
“I hope she’s not bringing ideas that the president is advocating for that we arm teachers,” said Pittman. “I’m here to teach, not to kill students.”
Suffice it to say, the Devo’s visit to MSD High School went about as well as anyone could have expected, and precisely what we expect from the Trump administration, a disaster.
Feature Image via YouTube Video