First lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit Monday morning to middle schoolers in Michigan to kick off the “Week of Inclusion” as part of National Bullying Prevention Month.
Trump, along with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, visited students at Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield in the Detroit area. The first lady is making good on her promise earlier this year to launch a campaign to combat bullying. In a prepared statement, the first lady said she’s committed “to the overall well-being of children.”
What did she say?
She spoke to seventh- and eighth-graders in the school’s lunchroom. She noticed some of the tables in the cafeteria were full of either boys or girls, and encouraged students to branch out.
Trump, who learned of the school’s “No One Eats Alone Day” event, encouraged students to find new friends to eat lunch with, according to a statement from the White House.
“Ask them what they like, what their hobbies are, so nobody becomes sad or stressed and everybody feels included,” Trump said, according to CNN. “I think it’s important that we choose kindness and compassion.”
“I encourage you all to find a new friend, get to know new things about them. Don’t let anyone sit alone,” Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, wrote in a tweet attributing the quote to Trump.
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) October 23, 2017
Trump and DeVos spent time talking to many of the students in the cafeteria, and even posed for pictures and took selfies with them.
The first lady also visited a group of sixth-graders for a classroom discussion on social and emotional inclusion.
“I always believe that you need to treat each other with respect and kindness and compassion, but also stay true to yourself. Just listen to your heart, but be yourself,” Trump told students in the classroom, CNN reported.
“By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit. We need to remember that they are always watching and listening,” Trump said in a statement. “It is our responsibility to take the lead in teaching children the values of empathy and communication that are at the core of kindness, mindfulness, integrity, and leadership.”
How did the school react to her visit?
Principal Morrison Borders said he learned a week ago that DeVos and Trump would be visiting his school, but he had to keep it quiet until Sunday night, he told the Detroit Free Press.
“It was great. Our kids had a great opportunity,” Borders said.
Borders said the political affiliation, whether people were liberal or conservative, didn’t matter. This was a special visit, he said, according to the Free Press.
“How many middle school kids can say they sat down … with the first lady?” Borders asked, the Free Press reported.