On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos landed in the Senate conformation hearing hotseat for her appointed role as secretary of education. It did not go well for a few demonstrable reasons, including the above video, which shows Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut asking DeVos about guns in schools. Murphy’s home state, of course, is where the Newtown massacre took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Murphy also famously ended last year’s Senate gun control filibuster with a moving account of a Sandy Hook teacher who gave her own life to protect a student.
Murphy asked DeVos whether “guns have any place in or around schools,” and her answer was startling due to the strange reasoning she used. First, DeVos stated that she’d prefer that the feds not decide this issue: “I think that’s best left for locales and states to decide.” Murphy then pushed forth: “You can’t say definitively, today, that guns shouldn’t be in schools?” She answered, “I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.” Murphy seemed aghast yet hinted at having DeVos visit Newtown.
In addition to the “bear” kerfuffle, DeVos also came face to face with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who largely exposed DeVos’ lack of public education experience. Kaine asked whether public, private, and public charter schools should all have to meet the same special-ed requirements. To this, and several other questions, DeVos simply kept repeating, “I support accountability.”