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Students call foul on Betsy DeVos’ failed Parkland photo op

Trump’s education secretary got the reception she deserves.

By Tommy Christopher - March 07, 2018
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Betsy DeVos at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 03-07-2018
Betsy DeVos at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 03-07-2018

Betsy DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday for a photo op, but students and reporters in Parkland, Florida, weren’t buying what she was selling.

According to several students at the school, DeVos’ visit was a pointless publicity effort.

“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,” tweeted student Carly Nove, editor of the school newspaper.

Student Aly Sheehy responded to DeVos’ visit by writing “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?”

“Betsy Devos came to my school, talked to three people, and pet a dog,” tweeted another.

Following the visit, DeVos held a press conference that lasted all of seven minutes, and left reporters calling after her “That’s it? Only five questions?”

“Are you kidding me?” said another reporter.

DeVos’ account of the press conference was consistent with the students’, albeit with some self-serving spin. She told reporters that she met with a “small group” of survivors with whom she did not discuss gun violence prevention, and said that a group of student reporters “followed (her) around.”

“One student from each publication (tv prod./newspaper/yearbook) was able to see her and take pictures of her, no one followed her,” Nove tweeted, calling out DeVos’ spin. “We are part of a school publication and it’s our job to report on a public figure visiting the school.”

DeVos also appeared to confirm that she ignored questions from the kids when she told reporters that she promised to return to the school and answer the kids’ questions “at the appropriate time.”

She also defended Trump’s plan to arm teachers, despite initially remaining silent on the proposal.

The Trump administration has had little to offer survivors of the massacre beyond photo ops and a pledge to pour even more guns into schools. But the Parkland survivors haven’t been playing along, and they aren’t about to start now.


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