Boise students stage protest walkout against Besty DeVos

Posted at 6:31 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 20:31:44-05

Many students in Boise swapped textbooks for handmade signs. They walked out of class and made their way to the Statehouse to exercise their 1st amendment rights. Their message, support public education and to stand against the new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

"We care about our education and we don't believe that someone who has barely even been to public school should be the one in charge," said Anna McClain-Sims a Borah High School student.

Students say DeVos is unqualified for the job and feel her vision for public education will cause division in schools based on race, gender and income. DeVos was narrowly confirmed by the Senate after Vice President Mike Pence broke a 50- 50 tie, a first in U.S. history. The students were joined by other protesters at the Statehouse both young and old.

"I think it's wonderful that people are speaking out," said Jeanie Mooney a retired school teacher.

The protest was put on by the student lead group "People For Unity Boise." The Boise School District says students who walked out of class without permission from a parent will be given an unexcused absence. But organizers say walking out of class was a critical part of the protest.

"Today we really wanted to show the students of Idaho are getting involved and are paying attention and by the amount of students who came out today we have clearly stated how we feel and what we want our education system to look like," explained Collette Raptosh of People for Unity Boise.

But some students who attended the rally were not there to protest, but to learn. One Trump supporter says he hasn't heard much about Betsy DeVos and wanted to be more informed.

"Learn what I support, learn what I don't because I'm at that crucial age where I'm about to turn 18 and vote in the next election," said Gage Matchens a student and Trump supporter.