Education Secretary met by protesters in Baltimore
BALTIMORE (WBFF)--Protesters greeted graduates and families at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric Monday for the University of Baltimore's Fall Commencement.
"There are a lot of Educators here who still want to congratulate these graduates and their families on what is really a big day because the folks who are out here protesting really believe in public education," Rob Helfenbein said.
Protesters were demonstrating against commencement speaker U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"It is not appropriate for it to happen during a commencement, which is supposed to be a celebration of student accomplishments, not something that became a politicized event," UB Professor Debbie Kohl said. "I couldn't stomach it, so I'm here because I was so distressed that she is addressing our students today."
Kohl and a few other instructors skipped out on the commencement to protest DeVos, whose policies, they say, are hurting public education.
UB President Kurt Schmoke defended his decision to invite Sec. DeVos, citing freedom of speech and tradition of the university.
"There's a difference between freedom of speech and giving someone a platform. And, this is a very high-profile platform," Helfenbein said.
Dozens of students stood and turned their backs as Sec. DeVos spoke.