Today was Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s first full day of classes since the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 people dead and many others wounded. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stopped by to meet with students, as did Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. One of these visitors was more popular than the other.
DeVos, who came through first, didn’t do much of anything besides make her appearance known. She didn’t bring up President Donald Trump’s idea to arm teachers in order to cut down on school shootings—likely for the best—nor did she seem to actually interact with many of the MSD students. Carly Novell, an editor for the school’s paper The Eagle Eye, said her classmates weren’t afforded a real chance to talk with DeVos:
Although DeVos told reporters “We’re committed not only to listening but to action,” after the visit, a few students didn’t think she cared to listen to the people affected by the shooting. Kyra Parrow, one of the students allowed to follow her around, said she didn’t get an actual answer to the one question she asked:
The answer to Parrow’s question was in The Eagle Eye’s article on the visit:
After senior Kyra Parrow asked DeVos about her agenda to prevent further school shootings, the secretary answered that her agenda was “to ensure that the students of our country are able to pursue their learning in a safe environment. I am going to make sure that we bring forward solutions that communities can put in place that will be appropriate for their surroundings and will ensure that they can care for their students.”
Then came Wade. He had a connection to the school, and not just because he plays for a Florida team: Joaquin Oliver, one of the students killed, was such a fan that he was buried in Wade’s jersey. When Wade learned about Oliver, he dedicated the rest of his season to him. The NBA player stopped by today, and the kids in the cafeteria were ecstatic.
There’s only so much time in a day, so maybe Wade didn’t get to meet with all 3,000 students at MSD, but he did meet with Oliver’s best friends, take questions from students, and talk to leaders of the Never Again movement, according to the Eagle Eye.
Wade can relate on some level to the students and staff, as his cousin Nykea Aldridge was a victim of gun violence in Chicago in 2016. DeVos, on the other hand, said at her confirmation hearing in January that she would support President Trump’s proposal to ban gun-free school zones; wouldn’t definitively say that guns shouldn’t be in schools; and cited grizzly bears as a reason why guns might have a place in schools. So she’s got that going for her.