Hogan and DeVos visit local school, prompting protests, support
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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Governor Larry Hogan visited Carderock Springs Elementary School to read to a second-grade class March 23, where they were met by activists chanting and holding signs both for and against DeVos and Hogan’s education policies.
After receiving a visit request from Hogan’s office March 21, principal Jae Lee planned a reading of “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss with a discussion on other books afterward
“The day needed careful planning but went over very smoothly,” Lee said. “Kids could have seen different signs or heard the protesters, so it helped to have my staff, MCPS security and police officers keeping protesters out of the school.”
Despite high security, protesters still cheered loudly outside the school.
In response to the alleged rape at nearby Rockville High School March 16, many protesters argued that MCPS should stay a sanctuary school system and resist federal requests for information about students who are illegal immigrants. Many chanted “Ho ho, hey hey, public schools are here to stay” and “Keep public schools public.”
“All kids need a fair chance to receive an education, and we need an educated population,” said protester Diane Karlik, an MCPS teacher of 30 years. “Public schools are the only schools that take all kids, which is why it’s so important we keep them truly public.”
Although slightly outnumbered, many Hogan supporters also expressed their excitement for Hogan and DeVos’ education policies, responding to chants against the officials by shouting “DeVos is the boss” and clapping as officials pulled up to the school.
“Being a sanctuary school system has really caused the schools to decline since my son went to Churchill 10 years ago,” Potomac resident Bill Richbourg said. “When schools try to accommodate illegal immigrants who don’t pay taxes, there just isn’t enough money to provide a quality education for kids who do pay taxes.”
Lee, a Rockville High School graduate, understands both sides of the protests, but emphasized the importance of not politicizing the incident there.
“Rockville High School used to be my community as well, and the part that I remember about it is that as an ESOL student, it gave me hope and a future,” Lee said. “The debate that the the rape sparked is necessary, but I hope what happened doesn’t overshadow all of the good memories there.”