Betsy DeVos's Visit to Parkland High School Draws Criticism From Shooting Survivors

The Secretary of Education is slated to visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday morning—three weeks after a mass shooting that left 17 dead—but not everyone there is looking forward to the visit.

Betsy DeVos's meeting with teachers and students comes on the first full day of classes since the school reopened following the tragedy that rocked the nation and rocketed several teens to the frontline of gun control activism. Many of those nascent activists have focused their criticism on the National Rifle Association and politicians, but DeVos hasn't escaped their notice. 

Several took to Twitter on Tuesday to express their thoughts on the controversial education official. 

"Literally no one asked for this," wrote Sarah Chadwick, whose many posts excoriating President Donald Trump and lawmakers like Florida Senator Marco Rubio's responses to the February 14 shooting have gone viral.

"Good thing I was already planning on sleeping in tomorrow," tweeted Emma Gonzalez. Gonzalez became a nationally recognized face for Stoneman Douglas's grassroots activism after delivering an emotional speech calling "B.S." on Congress's inaction on gun control.  

"Betsy DeVos hasn't done anything to improve our country's education system, I don't want to be given false sympathy as she walks through our school tomorrow," another student named Carly who goes by the Twitter name @car_nove posted.  

Carly later wrote that rather than protest DeVos's visit by blocking her entrance to the school or walking out in defiance, students should educate the secretary. 

"I've decided that I don't think we should walk out, ignore her, or block her from entering," she said. "I want to talk to her. I want her to understand what we're feeling. However, I doubt we'll be able to discuss anything with her. She'll probably give us her sympathies and leave."

The students have also organized a school walkout on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the tragedy, and the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., on March 24 to protest sales of semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15, which confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz used in Parkland. Some 400 other March for Our Lives protests will also be held in cities in all 50 states that day, according to Politico.

DeVos's meeting is closed to the press "out of respect for the students and faculty," the Education Department said in a media advisory. She is scheduled to speak with reporters shortly after the visit, at 10:15 a.m.