Betsy DeVos denies Parkland response is just ‘talking’

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos denied that her response to the Parkland massacre was just “talking” and said that there is a “sense of urgency” in combating mass shootings.

DeVos has been placed by the President atop a commission to look at school violence after 17 students and faculty were killed last month in Florida.

The move comes along with White House support for a Justice Department program that will aid states in arming school personnel, and DeVos told 60 Minutes that it “should be an option” for teachers to have guns in the classroom.

“My first-grade teacher, Mrs. Zorhoff, I couldn't ever imagine her having a gun and being trained in that way. But for those who are-- who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered,” she said.

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Betsy DeVos through the years
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Betsy DeVos through the years
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Schwalm

Continuing a day of one-on-one meetings with candidates for positions in his cabinet, President-elect Donald Trump met with Betsy DeVos, two polar opposites thought to be in contention for the education portfolio.

(Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, U.S. first lady Melania Trump and Jordan?s Queen Rania speak with students and administrators at the Excel Academy public charter school in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks before U.S. President Donald Trump signed a memorandum "Increasing Access to High-Quality Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education" in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 30: U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (L), who was dressed as Ms. Frizzle from 'The Magic Schoolbus' series, and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway attend Halloween at the White House on the South Lawn October 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump gave cookies away to costumed trick-or-treaters one day before the Halloween holiday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence stand with Betsy DeVos before their meeting at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Continuing a day of one-on-one meetings with candidates for positions in his cabinet, President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Betsy DeVos, two polar opposites thought to be in contention for the education portfolio.

(Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump (C, background) waits to interrupt Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she speaks to students at a school choice event at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Grant Hill #33 of the Los Angeles Clippers shakes hands with Owner Dick DeVos, Chairman of Amway and his wife Betsy DeVos during the game against the Orlando Magic during the game on February 6, 2013 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.

(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

US President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush wave after they were introduced by the Chair of the Michigan Republican Party Betsy DeVos 30 October 2004 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Bush is on his final three days of campaigning prior for the election November 02.

(STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos makes remarks during a major policy address on Title IX enforcement, which in college covers sexual harassment, rape and assault, at George Mason University, in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and U.S. first lady Melania Trump are greeted by a student during a visit the Excel Academy public charter school in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (C) and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price (R) attend a cabinet meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump, joined by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (from L), advisor Jared Kushner and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, thanks fourth-grade students Janayah Chatelier (3rd R) and Landon Fritz (R) for the "Happy Birthday Florida" card they gave him as he visits their classroom at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, U.S. March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos during a meeting with teachers and parents at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (2nd R) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) (R) arrive with President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida, U.S. March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
CAMBRIDGE, MA - SEPTEMBER 28: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks in a forum at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government on Thursday, September 28, 2017. (Photo by Katye Martens Brier for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence emerge with Betsy DeVos after their meeting at the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

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Her group is also expected to look at issues including raising the minimum age to buy an assault rifle in the U.S., a move that Trump had supported before kicking it over to the commission.

DeVos also fought back against journalist Lesley Stahl’s question that it appeared to be a lack of action by saying “there is a sense of urgency indeed.”

The Education Secretary, who also faced questioned about why she is the “most hated” member of the Cabinet, found herself surrounded by controversy this week after a visit to survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Prominent students at the school have advocated for stricter regulations on weapons such as the AR-15 that shooter Nikolas Cruz used against their classmates, and criticized DeVos for a short visit where she did not answer their questions.

The Education Secretary has also sparked opposition for leading the “school choice” movement that moves funds away from traditional public schools in favor of alternatives such as charters, but did not have answers when pressed by 60 Minutes about why the policies have not led to higher test scores in her home state of Michigan.

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Protests against gun violence following Florida school shooting
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Protests against gun violence following Florida school shooting
Students who walked out of their Montgomery County, Maryland, schools protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protestors rally outside the Capitol urging Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Students from South Plantation High School carrying placards and shouting slogans walk on the street during a protest in support of the gun control, following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Plantation, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, PARKLAND, FLORIDA. 02/25/2018 In the background, the school building, now slated to be demolished, where 17 children and teachers were killed by lone gunman Nikolas Cruz. On February 14, 2018, a former school Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz entered the school at 2.30pm and proceeded to kill 3 teachers and 14 school children in a 7 minute shooting spree. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. It is a part of the Broward County Public School district, and it is the only public high school in Parkland. (Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images)
Students from South Plantation High School carrying placards and shouting slogans walk on the street during a protest in support of the gun control, following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Plantation, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Melissa Conrad-Freed, former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and Mark Forst, mourn close to the fence of Western High School during a protest in support of the gun control, in Davie, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
After walking out of class with hundreds of her fellow students at Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, Gwen Parks holds up her hands during a protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Students from South Plantation High School carrying placards and shouting slogans walk on the street during a protest in support of the gun control, following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Plantation, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Students from South Plantation High School carrying placards and shouting slogans walk on the street during a protest in support of the gun control, following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Plantation, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
A protester holds a sign at a Call To Action Against Gun Violence rally by the Interfaith Justice League and others in Delray Beach, Florida, U.S. February 19, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Students who walked out of their classes at Montgomery County, Maryland schools, protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Students who walked out of their Montgomery County, Maryland, schools protest against gun violence in front of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Baltimore students outside City Hall stage a #gunsdowngradesup school walkout on Tuesday, March 6, 2018 to protest gun violence in schools and the city. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images)
Students from South Plantation High School carrying placards and shouting slogans walk on the street during a protest in support of the gun control, following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Plantation, Florida, February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
SOMERVILLE, MA - FEBRUARY 28: Senior Gabriel Kafka-Gibbons, left, and junior Seweryn Brzezinski, center, sit on the sidewalk during a student walkout at Somerville High School in Somerville, MA on Feb. 28, 2018. Some 200 Somerville High School students walked out at 8:17 a.m. to demand an end to gun-related violence in the wake of the attack in a Florida high school that left 17 people dead. The students exited the school as scheduled, at a time that reflects the number of staffers and students murdered Feb. 14 at a Parkland, FL, school, and then gathered outside as part of a 17-minute long silent protest. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2018 -- Students from Washington local high schools demonstrate for stricter gun control outside the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Feb. 21, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he has recommended that 'bump stocks', devices that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, be banned, while debates on gun rights continue across the country. (Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images)
MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, PARKLAND, FLORIDA. 02/25/2018 A young school child holds a sign 'Protect Children NOT Guns' at Stoneman Douglas High School. On February 14, 2018, a former school Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz entered the school at 2.30pm and proceeded to kill 3 teachers and 14 school children in a 7 minute shooting spree. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is located in Parkland, Florida, in the Miami metropolitan area. It is a part of the Broward County Public School district, and it is the only public high school in Parkland. Photo by Giles Clarke/Getty Images
Rabbi Jack Romberg speaks at a rally during which several thousand protestors urge Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws outside the Capitol, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Protestors rally outside the Capitol urging Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Protestors rally outside the Capitol urging Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Protestors rally outside the Capitol urging Florida lawmakers to reform gun laws, in the wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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