Politics

DeVos Physically Blocked by Protesters From Entering DC School

(Updated)

Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos, left, escorted away from protesters / Twitter video screenshot

Newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was physically blocked from entering a school in Washington, D.C. on Friday by protesters.

Anti-DeVos demonstrators climbed the stairs of the back of the Jefferson Middle School Academy building in southwest D.C. and began to scream and hover around the secretary. DeVos' security team quickly moved in and escorted her back to her car.

ABC 7 reporter Sam Sweeney, who tweeted video of the incident, said it was unclear if DeVos tried to use another door.

Protesters can be heard in the video screaming that DeVos gave money to senators so that she could buy her position to head the Department of Education.

DeVos remained unfazed by the protesters while two other reporters tried to get a comment from her.

One protester screamed "Shame! Shame! Shame!" as her security detail tried to leave.

A man could be seen holding a "Black Lives Matter" sign as he stood in front of Devos' black Chevy Suburban, trying to block the vehicle from leaving.

DeVos released a statement Friday afternoon saying that she would "not be deterred" after the incident with protesters. She thanked Jefferson Middle School Academy for hosting her at the event, the education secretary's first visit to a public K-12 school since being sworn in.

"Focusing on their students and families is at the heart of Jefferson Academy's approach and that's exactly what I believe is at the heart of providing an exceptional education," DeVos said in her statement. "I was honored to speak with Jefferson's team about our shared commitment to strengthening public education."

DeVos also addressed the protests directly.

"I respect peaceful protest, and I will not be deterred in executing the vital mission of the Department of Education," the statement said. "No school door in America will be blocked from those seeking to help our nation's school children."

UPDATE 4:02 P.M.: This post was updated to include Betsy DeVos' statement on the protests.