Betsy DeVos keeps school visit secret to avoid protests


Education Secretary Betsy DeVos demanded the school not publicize her visit.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos apparently believes public service is best accomplished by hiding from the public she is supposed to serve.

On May 16, DeVos secretly visited a public school in Poway Unified School District (PUSD), located in San Diego, California, refusing to allow the school to let the public or even parents know she would be there.

The reason? The DeVos team was desperate to avoid protesters bothering her during her visit.

"Her team was very specific on the need for security protocols to be followed. This included no communication to the public about her visit," Marian Kim Phelps, superintendent of the school district, said on Monday. "I cannot say that we would have been able to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and visitors had protestors gathered."

DeVos, a public servant, hid her travel agenda from anyone who may disagree with her policies so she wouldn't be inconvenienced on her visit. According to Education Week, parents didn't learn about the visit until hours after it happened, when Phelps shared a photo of herself with DeVos on Facebook.

Reactions to her post were mixed, with several commenters expressing outrage at DeVos's visit.

"Absolutely appalling," one person said.

"This is embarrassing. It is not an 'honor' to have a visit from someone with zero education experience who only holds the 'highest post in education' because of her donations and political pandering," said another. (Prior to her appointment, DeVos gave nearly $1 million to Republican senators who voted to confirm her as Secretary of Education.)

DeVos is one of the most polarizing and unpopular members of Trump's Cabinet. The billionaire heiress had never worked in the public education sector before taking over as the education secretary and has endured a tenure plagued by scandals and extremist policies.

DeVos adamantly defended the Trump administration's decision to slash federal funding for the Special Olympics, rolled back protections for transgender students even though she knew it might be harmful, backed efforts to protect rapists on college campuses, and even used her personal email to conduct government business.

"Had I known this was happening I would have been the first PUSD mom standing there protesting," one person said on Facebook.

It is unclear what policies protesters would have highlighted, had they been aware DeVos was visiting a school in their community.

Rather than face protesters head-on, DeVos chose to skulk in the shadows to avoid legitimate criticism from the very people she is supposed to be serving.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.