US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was booed and jeered as she gave a commencement address to graduating students at a historically black college in Florida on Wednesday (10 May).

A number of students turned their backs on the Michigan Republican as she spoke after receiving an honorary doctorate at Bethune-Cookman Univeristy in Daytona Beach, Florida.

DeVos' speech was largely drowned out by the jeering of the crowd - which was so bad that the university's president, Dr Edison Jackson, told the students: "If this behaviour continues, your degrees will be mailed to you."

Outside the event, some students and alumni gathered to protest against DeVos.

DeVos was heavily criticised in late February after putting out a statement in which she called historically black colleges and iniversities in America "real pioneers when it comes to school choice", leading one Senator to say DeVos "doesn't understand history".

"Black students did not 'choose' HBCUs over the all-white colleges," Rep John Conyers said, after the statement. "They were barred from attending [others] due to their race."

DeVos is a noted supporter of voucher schemes and 'school choice' as opposed to federal oversight of the education system. Her confirmation as education secretary was particularly contentious even for President Donald Trump's cabinet, only going ahead when Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to cast the deciding vote in an equally divided Senate.