Student group protests Betsy DeVos, holds 'funeral for public education'

The group protested the Education Secretary with a mock funeral for public education.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Michigan Student Power Network protested Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Sunday, Oct. 8 by holding a mock funeral for the "death of public education" in downtown Grand Rapids.

The funeral concept is in the spirit of ArtPrize, said Skylar Hill, one of the event's organizers.

"We thought we could be more creative with it if we did as a funeral instead of a rally," Hill said.

The group argued that DeVos' policies will strip the right of public education from lower-income students.

"We might be in Betsy DeVos' backyard, but we don't approve of what she does and she doesn't speak for us," Hill said.

Protestors took strong opposition to DeVos rescinding Title IX, the Obama-era guidance for how schools should address sexual assault.

"One rape is one too many...one person denied due process is one too many," DeVos said in September.

Related: DeVos to revamp Title IX guidance on sex assaults on college campus

One activist, Mary Minnick, drove two hours from Baldwin, Michigan with her husband to participate in the demonstration.

"We'll drive as far as we have to drive," Minnick said. "We'll go anywhere. Everybody needs to stand up to this issue that we're having with [DeVos]."

Hill said the Michigan Student Power Network hopes the jarring funeral processional will reach more people.

"Not even just the ArtPrize crowd, but the people in Grand Rapids [will] see us and know that there's action happening and hopefully they'll come and join us," she said. 

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