DeSantis roasted by former students at Georgia boarding school

DeSantis was a frequent presence at parties with the seniors who lived in town, according to a NYT deep dive

Published November 6, 2022 7:26AM (EST)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on Raw Story


Days before Florida voters go to the polls and decide if they want Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to serve a second term, the New York Times did a deep dive into his solitary year teaching a private boarding school in Georgia where he was popular with some students while others are now -- as they were then -- highly critical of the history classes he was teaching.

According to the report from the Times' Frances Robles, 23-year-old DeSantis was fresh out of Yale University when he took a teaching position at Darlington School, one of the state's oldest boarding schools.

As Robles wrote, at a recent 20-year reunion, the topic of DeSantis came up and what graduates had to say about the current Florida governor offers "a window into the formative years of one of the most polarizing figures in American politics."

Opinions on DeSantis differed, according to the Times.

"As a baseball and football coach at the school, Mr. DeSantis was admired and respected by his team. As a teacher, he was remembered by some former students as cocky and arrogant. He once publicly embarrassed a student with a prank, hung out at parties with seniors and got into debates about the Civil War with students who questioned the focus, and sometimes the accuracy, of his lessons," Robles wrote.

According to former student Gates Minis who graduated in 2003, "He was a total jock; that was his personality. He was definitely proud that he graduated Ivy and thought he was very special."

Another graduate, Trip Barnes, added, "He was definitely one of the cooler guys. There were other young teachers who tried to be everybody's friend who didn't have nearly his mystique."

Where students had difficulties with the future politician was in the classroom.

According to the report, his lessons on the Civil War were a bone of contention with students still remembering his approach.

"Danielle Pompey remembers Mr. DeSantis, a Florida native and recent Yale grad, being an outsider like her, a New Yorker with a thick accent to match. But Ms. Pompey, who is Black and was on an academic scholarship, said she felt that Mr. DeSantis treated her worse because of her race," with the report quoting Pompey, also the class of 2003, recalling, "Mr. Ron, Mr. DeSantis, was mean to me and hostile toward me. Not aggressively, but passively, because I was Black."

"Like in history class, he was trying to play devil's advocate that the South had good reason to fight that war, to kill other people, over owning people — Black people. He was trying to say, 'It's not OK to own people, but they had property, businesses,'" she stated before adding, "He had a good opportunity to enrich people, to come there from the Northeast and show people in the South that we can blend. It seemed like he didn't want to do that."

Minis, who is white, shared that class with Pompey and recalled DeSantis refused to back down when called out by students for getting the history wrong.

According to Minis, "She remembers him claiming that every city in the South had burned, even though she knew her hometown, Savannah, had not and she called him out on it."

Another former student who didn't want to give their name, claimed, "Mr. DeSantis's takes on the Civil War were the subject of so much talk that students made a satirical video about him at the time for the video yearbook."

In the video, viewed by Robles, "...a short snippet in which a voice purporting to be Mr. DeSantis is heard saying: 'The Civil War was not about slavery! It was about two competing economic systems. One was in the North. …"'while a student dozes in class. (A student voiced the role of Mr. DeSantis, because students did not have any actual footage of him, according to a student who helped put it together.)"

According to former student Matthew Arne, "Mr. DeSantis was kind of a smug guy.' noting that students were well aware that he had just graduated from Yale."

"It was like a, 'I'm kind of better than you," Arne noted before adding, "And we were all just kids."

"Given Ron DeSantis' obsessive focus on "sexualization" in schools, it seems pretty strange that he doesn't talk about the year he spent as a teacher, where former students remember him defending the confederacy and drinking with high school seniors," one person said on Twitter, along with a photo of DeSantis partying with students.

By Tom Boggioni

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