Parkland students rip DeVos for not looking at the role of guns in school violence

Two survivors of February's Parkland, Fla., school shooting blasted Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump DeVos says Trump 'could talk about education more' Republicans to hand out 'baseball cards' mocking Gary Peters in Michigan MORE for saying that the White House’s school safety commission will not focus on the role of firearms in violence at schools.

In an interview Sunday with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin expressed disappointment that DeVos would not charge the commission with looking at gun violence.

“Betsy DeVos needs to understand that there have been over 20 school shootings in 2018 alone,” Corin said. “If our Secretary of Education fails to recognize the role that guns play in our schools, she doesn’t represent the students of America.”

DeVos told lawmakers last week that the commission, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE formed in response to the Parkland shooting, would not look at the role of guns in school violence.

ADVERTISEMENT

Trump’s directive for the commission says that it will “study and make recommendations” on numerous topics, including age restrictions for certain gun purchases.

Deitsch said he “can’t respect” DeVos's decision not to examine the role of guns in school violence. Democratic lawmakers on the House Education Committee wrote a letter to DeVos last week asking her for an explanation.

“I just can’t respect that she couldn’t even look at one of the leading causes of death in schools, which shouldn’t be a classic thing in America,” Deitsch said. “This shouldn’t be a classic thing in the 21st century that we’re talking about how many kids are dying in schools and how to stop it, let alone ignoring something as obvious as the gun.”

Deitsch also tore into DeVos for her visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooter opened fire at the school on Feb. 14, killing 17 people and injuring several others.

DeVos was harshly criticized at the time by students who said the secretary’s visit was merely a photo opportunity.

“I lost all respect for Ms. DeVos after she visited our tragedy,” Deitsch said Sunday, accusing DeVos of violating grieving students’ privacy with her visit.

“She would whisper to staff members,” he said. “She would sit down with grieving students when they were in a private counseling session, fully breaking the privacy session that these students needed after they lost their friends.”