The Slatest

Parkland Students Criticize Betsy DeVos for Limiting Availability During Marjory Stoneman Douglas Visit (Updated)

Betsy DeVos leaves a press conference that was held at a hotel near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday.
Betsy DeVos leaves a press conference held at a hotel near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Note: This post’s headline originally asserted that Betsy DeVos “reportedly refused to meet with [Parkland] students.” The post and headline have been updated to reflect a subsequent account, which indicates DeVos did, in fact, meet with some students.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday morning. While the event was closed to members of the media, DeVos said afterward that she was accompanied by student reporters during her time at the school—an account that was disputed by a senior student reporter named Carly Novell:

[Update, 5:20 p.m.: While Novell said DeVos didn’t take questions from any students during her trip to Parkland, the student paper’s writeup of the event later reported that the secretary “answered a couple questions from student journalists” during the hour-long visit and introduced herself to other students in the school’s auditorium. One student who spoke to DeVos, however, complained to the student paper that she “wasn’t informative or helpful”in her response and “didn’t come to inform us or talk about how we are going to fix this issue.” Another wrote on Twitter that the secretary spoke to only a “handful” of students and “did not properly answer my only question.” And here’s another’s summary:

That’d be one of the therapy dogs at the school, presumably.]

The Los Angeles Times’ Joy Resmovits wrote that DeVos’ press conference after the visit—held at a nearby Marriott—ended abruptly:

A video posted by a writer from the Daily Beast indicates that DeVos’ press conference lasted about eight minutes, during which time she took five questions:

As you can see, DeVos avoided endorsing or really even addressing any of the specific school/gun-safety policies, ranging from arming teachers to re-banning assault rifles, that have been proposed since the Parkland attack.