Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to visit Stoneman Douglas

Trump administration official supports arming teachers in classrooms

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor
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PARKLAND, Fla. - U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will visit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday, the first full day of school since the mass shooting.

DeVos wants to "connect with teachers and students" after the shooting, according to a news release from the Education Department.

Seventeen people were killed and more than dozen others were wounded on Feb. 14 when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire inside the Parkland school. Students returned to school last Wednesday more than a week after the shooting, but they attended classes on a abbreviated schedule.

In the days after the shooting, DeVos  supported a proposal by President Trump and others to arm teachers as a way to deter school shootings. Many Parkland students and parents vigorously opposed plans to arm teachers, instead they advocated for a ban on semi-automatic weapons like the one used by Cruz.

At least one high profile Stoneman Douglas student, senior Emma Gonzalez, was not impressed with the visit.

"Good thing I was already planning on sleeping in tomorrow," she said.

On Tuesday, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that would enable certain school employees to carry weapons inside schools. Gov. Rick Scott does not support the voluntary program, but does back other measures in the bill including, banning bump stocks and raising the age to buy a gun to 21.

The Education Department said the secretary's visit will be closed to the news media out of respect for the students and faculty. 

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