Broward County

Parkland students clash over school visit by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 27, 2018, in Washington. DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on March 7, 2018.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 27, 2018, in Washington. DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on March 7, 2018. Getty Images

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ visit Wednesday to the Parkland school where 17 people were slain by a former student on Feb. 14 sparked debate among students and outsiders well before her morning arrival — which is closed to the media.

DeVos, who famously said during her Senate confirmation hearing that guns might be appropriate in remote schools to defend against grizzly bears, announced on Tuesday she would be visiting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the next morning.

That night, student activist Emma González tweeted to her 1.2 million followers: “Good thing I was already planning on sleeping in tomorrow.”

The post kicked off a clash of comments on social media among some students.

Cameron Kasky, the outspoken senior who took on Sen. Marco Rubio on the national stage and has made the rounds on television, retweeted her post, which, to some, could be taken as an endorsement. (Kasky’s not one of those Twitter users who adds the disclaimer, “RTs are not an endorsement,” to his bio.)

Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, reads a prepared statement surrounded by other Parents of the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in front of the school Tuesday, March 6, 2018.

Two hours later, Sarah Chadwick, who also has been calling for changes in gun laws, said simply, “Literally no one asked for this.”

But Kyle Kashuv, the conservative student who took classmate David Hogg to task after Hogg boasted to Bill Maher on the HBO talk show “Real Time” Friday night that he hung up on President Donald Trump, took Chadwick on directly.

“I did, actually. [Betsy DeVos] is an American patriot and is the Sec. of EDUCATION which means she is a great person to talk with about SCHOOL safety,” he said in a tweet.

Kyle assured social media observers that there was no clash at the school in deeds, but just in opinion.

“Believe me, there’s no chaos, believe me,” he tweeted during the visit.

Outsiders weighed in, too. With snark.

“Is there some sort of grizzly bear situation going on down there,” wondered Twitter user Robin Tressler White.

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Students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, two weeks after a deadly school shooting that claimed 17 lives. Students talk about their first day back and the healing process they are taking as su

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