Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received poor grades from many students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after her brief visit on Wednesday to the site of the mass shooting in February.
The students, many of them new gun control advocates, wanted to hear DeVos’ policy thoughts on how to stem gun violence in schools. Instead, she had little interaction with the few students who were allowed to meet her, Carly Novell, a student newspaper editor, told The Huffington Post.
After visiting the school, DeVos held a press conference and expressed her openness to the idea of arming teachers, similar to the model used in Texas. “I think that’s a model that can be adopted and should be an option for schools, for states, for communities,” DeVos said, adding that it should not be required everywhere.
Arming teachers, however, endangers the lives of Black children. “It does not take a great deal of imagination to contemplate instances in which armed teachers dealing with recalcitrant children will react out of fear and racial stereotype and discharge their weapons as they do the disciplinary code,” wrote Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. A school environment where teachers are encouraged to carry weapons could also make law enforcement officers stationed at schools feel more at ease to shoot first and ask questions later.
Several hours after DeVos’ visit, NBA superstar Dwayne Wade met with Douglas High School students to lift their spirits in the aftermath of the trauma. The students gave him an enthusiastic welcome. One of the 17 shooting victims, Joaquin Oliver, was a huge fan of the former Miami Heat player. Oliver was buried in his Heat jersey.