June 10, 2018
Parkland Shooting Survivors Slam Betsy DeVos For Doing Nothing About Gun Violence And Exploiting The Tragedy

On Sunday morning, two Parkland survivors-turned-activists announced their "Road to Change" bus tour. The initiative aims to push youth voter registration as a means to pass gun control legislation. MSNBC's AM Joy host Joy Reid interviewed Ryan Deitsch and Jaclyn Corin about their two-month campaign and learned that they were none-too-impressed with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

During a recent Senate hearing, DeVos admitted that gun control was nowhere on her agenda in addressing the rash of gun violence in schools. Both Deitsch and Corin expressed disdain for the apparent miss. They believe that it is impossible to improve school safety without prioritizing the issue of gun violence.

The most scathing criticism came from Deitsch's recollection of the secretary's visit to Marjory Stone Douglas High School following the February 14 mass shooting. He accused DeVos of sneaking around the building spying on students and even interrupting private counseling sessions with grieving students.

"I lost all respect for Ms. DeVos after she visited our tragedy," Deitsch told Reid. "She came in one morning to secretly to just lurk the halls. I was a part of the school TV production program and I had to film her going about this. She would whisper to staff members. 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."
student gun reform protest
Getty Images | Zach Gibson

Corin said that with some 20 reported school shootings so far in 2018, it should be obvious to DeVos that gun control should be a priority in her study. The secretary's failure to make this very obvious connection disqualifies her from representing the "students of America."

Current safeguards against tragedies like Parkland have been scrutinized and deemed ineffective. USA Today reported that Douglas High School baseball coach Andrew Medina and coach David Taylor both served as unarmed campus security monitors at the time of the shooting. Neither took adequate steps to protect students and staff. Medina admitted to investigators that he and others at Douglas High School suspected that, sooner or later, alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz would likely commit a serious crime.

"I'm telling you I knew who the kid was," Medina told investigators. "Because we had a meeting about him last year and we said, 'If there's gonna be anybody who's gonna come to this school and shoot this school up, 'gonna be that kid.'"

The day of the shooting, he watched Cruz walk across campus before entering the school building and committing the crime. Instead of intervening or calling a "Code Red," Medina called Taylor via radio warning him to keep his eyes open. When the gunfire started, Taylor hid in a janitor's closet.

Broward County Public Schools spokesperson Nadine Drew told USA Today that Medina and Taylor have since been reassigned to roles off-campus "until further notice."