Betsy DeVos' "Grizzly Bear Attacks" Remark

Betsy DeVos' "Grizzly Bear Attacks" Remark

Updated Jan 22, 2017 at 05:44PM EST by Brad.

Added Jan 20, 2017 at 01:00PM EST by Don.

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Betsy Devos' "Grizzly Bear Attacks" Remark refers to a statement made by American entrepreneur Betsy DeVos in response to a question about whether firearms should be allowed in schools under any circumstances during her confirmation hearing for the position of the Secretary of Education under President Donald Trump's administration in January 2017. DeVos' remark, which implicitly defended the presence of firearms in schools to protect students from wild animals, was widely met with ridicule and derision on Twitter and elsewhere online.


On January 17th, 2017, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut asked DeVos if she believed "guns have any place in or around our schools," to which she responded that it was "best left to locales and states to decide." When asked to elaborate, DeVos replied that schools in Wyoming might need guns on campus "to protect from potential grizzlies." That evening, a clip of the grizzly bears statement was tweeted by activist Deray Mckesson, which gained over 6,000 likes and 4,900 retweets within 72 hours.[4]


Also on January 17th, 2017, Twitter created a Moments[2] page titled "Take a look at what happened at Betsy DeVos' Confirmation Hearing," which highlighted tweets mocking the grizzly bears comment (shown below).

Dr. Justin Tarte @justintarte L-Follow ﹀ All grizzly bears around schools better watch out. #DeVosHearing @BetsyDeVos Hello GIF RETWEETS LIKES 96 233 14儠郘屁包: . 10: 10 PM-17 Jan 2017 わ7 2R 96 233 Diane N. Sevenay @Diane_7A Follow Raise your hand if you're more qualified than #BetsyDeVos to be the next Secretary of Education. #DeVosHearing RETWEETS LIKES 哑 10,286 17,469 10:02 PM- 17 Jan 2017 わ457 10K 17K LibrarianShipwreck @libshipwreck Follow One of these pictures is of a dramatic threat to public school students, the other is of a bear. RETWEETS LIKES 霤 . V 36,746 63,245 1:54 PM- 18 Jan 2017 わ516 t: 37K 63K

The following day, Redditor cocakaila submitted an article about the grizzly bears statement to /r/nottheonion,[1] where it received more than 19,600 points (77% upvoted) and 5,200 comments in 48 hours. On January 19th, Democratic Underground Forums[5] member ehrnst posted a picture of a bear walking down a school hallway with the caption "Confirm Betsy DeVos As Education Secretary Now!" (shown below).


Meanwhile, Redditor ThePrussianGrippe submitted a post asking "what is with the recent memes about Betsy Devos' hearing and bears in schools?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop.[3] That evening, Devos' statements were mocked in a comedy skit on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and in a monologue on Jimmy Kimmel Live (shown below).

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