Education Secretary Betsy DeVos went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday to meet with students—students desperate to keep guns out of their school—then turned around and told the press that she supports putting guns in schools.
DeVos visited the school on its first full day in session since a 19-year-old gunman fatally shot 17 people just three weeks ago. In a meeting closed to the press, she met with a small, select group of students and teachers, CNN reports, and laid a wreath at the fence around the building where the gunman opened fire.
Based on accounts tweeted by students, DeVos did not come with any solutions for gun reform and school safety, nor did she seem particularly keen on speaking with the students, who have become the loudest voices for gun reform in the country:
In a press conference following her visit, DeVos expressed support for Donald Trump’s proposal to arm and deputize teachers. “I think to say ‘arming teachers’ is oversimplification and a mischaracterization, really,” she said. “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.”
DeVos made no mention of Deputy Scot Peterson, the armed school officer who lingered outside in safety during the mass shooting, or the Georgia teacher arrested for firing a gun in his classroom. Nor did she mention her repeated budget proposals to slash programs dedicated to student health and safety.
Instead, DeVos called the students inspiring and said of a group of high school reporters, “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.”
Perhaps forgetting that she is, in fact, one of the adults best positioned to do something “about this whole situation,” DeVos repeatedly dodged journalists’ questions about specific reforms and described the purpose of her visit simply as, “I was just there to be there, to be with them.”