When the first daughter paid a surprise visit to a high school in Connecticut on Monday, some people were less than thrilled. In fact, some parents pulled their kids from class when Ivanka Trump visited Norwalk Early College Academy in Norwalk, the Associated Press reports. Trump didn't seem fazed, though. On Monday she tweeted, "It was an honor to meet so many bright and talented students!"
Trump visited Norwalk Early College Academy alongside IBM CEO Ginni Rometty to speak to a group of high-achieving students. The school is based on IBM's "P-TECH" model, which allows high schoolers to earn a high school diploma, an associate's degree, and technical skills all at the same time.
"PTECH schools equip high school students with skills training in #STEM & Computer Science, enabling them to thrive in our modern economy," Trump said in her tweet, accompanied by photos of her visit to the school.
However, some parents with kids at the school thought the unannounced visit shouldn't have been sprung on them in the way that it was. "I think we should have had the choice to send our child to school or keep them home," parent Karey Fitzgerald told News 12 Connecticut.
The surprise event was hosted by IBM, and the company provides summer internships, mentors, and job coaches to Norwalk Early College Academy students. Trump and Rometty reportedly met with about 10 students, though it's unclear how many parents pulled their kids out of class.
There wasn't much appreciation for the visit from one of its former students, either. Monica Mercuri, a Norwalk Early College Academy alumna, tweeted that she "never in a million years" thought the first daughter would show up unannounced at her high school.
Hope the diversity of our students and our large immigrant population doesn't scare her away!
The visit to the P-TECH school falls in line with Trump's push to promote and fund STEM education. She reportedly worked to make computer science and STEM education a priority within the Trump administration, and in September the president directed the Education Department to invest at least $200 million in expanding computer science education annually. The Internet Association additionally pledged over $300 million for computer science programs in K through 12 schools over the next five years.
"I've asked Ivanka to lead up the White House efforts on workforce development, and the initiative today is a critical part of that endeavor," President Trump said at the time.
Ivanka visited multiple schools around the time the directive went through, including Middleburg Community Charter School in Middleburg, Virginia. At this school, she spoke at an assembly and coded with students, along with Microsoft president Brad Smith and Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi. "I'm hoping I can be as cool as you coders," she told a group of fifth graders.
Her push to get more students interested in computer sciences has specifically focused on girls — "Right now, girls only make up 22 percent of the computer science field, but we're going to change that, right, ladies?" she told Middleburg Community Charter students.
She started coding with her 6-year-old daughter Arabella, and quipped at Middleburg Community Charter School that practicing at the school might give her the skills to show up Arabella.
She has been practicing more than me, and she reminds me of this every time we code together. But while she was in school today, I was here practicing with you. So tonight, I'm going to go home and I'm going to have some skills. I don't know, I may give her a little run.
Monday's visit to Norwalk Early College Academy continued her tour promoting STEM and computer science fields, although not everyone was thrilled to see her there, regardless of the reason for her drop-in.