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Betsy DeVos K-12

One arrest as protesters block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from entering D.C. public school

Protesters, including Ari Schwartz, center, gather outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C., where Betsy DeVos paid her second visit as Education secretary. (Maria Danilova / AP)
Protesters, including Ari Schwartz, center, gather outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington, D.C., where Betsy DeVos paid her second visit as Education secretary. (Maria Danilova / AP)

On Friday, on her third day as President Trump's Education secretary, Betsy DeVos visited Jefferson Academy, a middle school in southwest Washington, D.C.

When she got there, she was surrounded by protesters from various parent groups , the local teachers union and the Movement 4 Black Lives. A video shows protesters blocking DeVos and her security detail as they shouted, "You do not represent anything that we stand for," and, "Shame, shame, shame."

During DeVos' confirmation process , many questioned her support for public schools. She had in the past called them a "dead end" and has spent years promoting school vouchers and charter schools.

One male protester was arrested Friday for assault on a police officer, said Margarita Mikhaylova, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police Department. "Allegations that the U.S. Secretary of Education was assaulted are still under investigation," she said in an email.

On Friday, protesters held signs that called for the protection of public schools. Some held Black Lives Matter signs.

After protesters blocked her way into the school, DeVos and her security detail got into a black car, which one protester briefly tried to block.

Jefferson is a school serving mostly black students. It is best known for posting high test score gains and producing music videos to celebrate those accomplishments.

DeVos eventually made her way inside the school, the Washington Post reported. She was joined there by D.C. schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson, who recently left the top job at Oakland Unified.

The event inside the school was closed to the media, but DeVos did address reporters briefly as she left. She said she had a great visit with "incredible teachers" and "awesome students."

She ignored a local reporter who asked what she thought of the protesters.

Then the reporter tried again and asked, "What do you think of the school?"

DeVos turned around and said, “The school is awesome.”

UPDATE, Feb. 10, 10:50 a.m.: DeVos released a statement about the protests:

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

You can read the entire statement here.

This story also was updated to include news of the arrest of a protester.

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