Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited with the students, parents and educators of North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino, California. The Secretary ate lunch with students, visited several classrooms and met with teachers, employees and school and community leaders.
The Secretary also held a private meeting with the families and loved ones of Karen Smith, Jonathan Martinez and Nolan Brandy.
Secretary DeVos' visit came at the invitation of the district's superintendent, with whom she spoke in the immediate wake of the April 10 tragedy that claimed the lives of a teacher and 8-year-old student and wounded a classmate. The Department of Education remains in close coordination with the school and district to provide needed support and resources.
Following the visit, Secretary DeVos offered the following comments:
"My heart aches for the children and families impacted by this senseless tragedy, but my spirit soared to see the resiliency of the students and staff. It is clear this school community has rallied together to care for every child and for each other.
"I want to commend the entire North Park Elementary and San Bernardino City Unified District team for the nurturing environment they've created and for continuing undeterred with the important mission of educating the rising generation.
"It was inspiring to hear about the wonderful lives Karen and Jonathan led and to witness the incredible strength Nolan has shown. While life at North Park will never be exactly the same, I have no doubt the students and staff will continue to exemplify the remarkable spirits of those who were lost."