PARKLAND (CBSMiami) – U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with some students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Wednesday as they went back to class for their first full day of school.
The school has been on a modified half day schedule since last Wednesday, with much of the time devoted to helping students begin the process of healing.
Members of the media were not allowed inside the school during the tour out of respect to the students and staff. When the tour was over, DeVos met with reporters for a quick question and answer session.
“I just had a very sobering and very inspiring visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” DeVos started.
She explained she met with some faculty and some students and thanked principal Ty Thompson for the visit.
“It was a very sobering and inspiring moment and visit and I come committed on behalf of this administration to continue to find solutions so that no student and no parent has to go through what this community has had to endure.”
She explained that the administration has already had a number of listening sessions and it will have more.
“We are committed not only to listening but to action. We know there are many common solutions that we can find common ground on and we are committed to further advancing those things that are going to help ensure that students like these are going to have the opportunity to learn in safe environments.”
She touted the students who have launched a nationwide campaign about school safety.
“I give a lot of credit to the students here who have found their voices and encouraged them to continue to speak out about finding those solutions and having adults pay attention. They have a lot of very important and worthwhile things to say.”
DeVos noted that students in the freshman building, where the school massacre took place, are still having a rough time but are healing slowly with help from the comfort dogs on campus.
“I spoke to small group of students who are having a particularly tough time and when I asked about whether any of them had an opportunity to connect with the dogs, all of their faces lit up in an amazing way.”
When asked about arming teachers in school, she replied, “Let’s be clear, I think to say ‘arming teachers’ — is an oversimplification and a mischaracterization really,” she began. “I think that the concept is to, 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 to do so.”
While local reporters weren’t allowed inside the school, school reporters were able to meet with her.
“There were a number of student newspaper reporters who walked around with me and they are obviously very interested in seeing what adults are going to do about this whole situation and what we are going to do to find common ground and common solutions moving forward.”
However, following her comments to the media, some students at the school disagreed with what she claimed.
One student from each publication (tv prod./newspaper/yearbook) was able to see her and take pictures of her, no one followed her. We are part of a school publication and it’s our job to report on a public figure visiting the school. https://t.co/zE48UAFZky
— carly (@car_nove) March 7, 2018
The same student claimed DeVos didn’t even meet with students
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
— carly (@car_nove) March 7, 2018
DeVos said she told the student newspaper reporters that she would love to come back and spend an appropriate amount of time to sit down and talk with them.