Ivanka Trump's surprise visit at a Connecticut school did not go over well

Some parents pulled their children from the school due to their dislike of the Trump family's politics

By Matthew Rozsa

Published December 20, 2017 10:49AM (EST)

 (AP/Alex Brandon)
(AP/Alex Brandon)

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Donald Trump, created a minor controversy at a school in Connecticut by showing up unexpectedly.

"To see the passion and enthusiasm for bringing real life skills into a classroom environment but then coupling it with real life experience through internship creates this really beautiful virtuous angle," Ivanka Trump told the students at Norwalk Early College Academy, according to News 12 Connecticut. But not many students were there to hear those words in person.

Ivanka Trump was there to promote the importance of STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), as well as computer science education in general. She was joined by IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, who developed the academic model being used at the Norwalk Early College Academy.

While Ivanka Trump's message may have been innocuous, her association with President Donald Trump was apparently too much for many of the parents. Because her visit was not announced in advance, the parents who did not want their children to be exposed to the first daughter instead pulled their offspring from the school.

"This should have been brought to our attention, although I do understand security reasons. I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home," Karey Fitzgerald, a parent of a Norwalk student, told News 12 Connecticut.

The reaction to Ivanka Trump's surprise appearance is reminiscent of another occasion when parents reacted poorly to a national political figure offering an education-based message to American students. When President Barack Obama decided to deliver a back to school speech for students in 2009, many conservatives responded by not sending their children to school, while some school administrators decided not to show it or to decide whether or not to show it on a class by class basis.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Connecticut Donald Trump Education Ivanka Trump