Broward County school officials bolstered the case against the Obama-era discipline directive by admitting — after months of emphatic denials — that the confessed Parkland shooter was referred to a program designed to keep youths out of the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
The disclosure came as another hit to the district’s credibility and reignited criticism of the Promise program, a progressive protocol emphasizing counseling over suspensions, as a precursor to the Obama administration’s hotly disputed 2014 discipline guidance.
Among those weighing in Monday were parents of children slaughtered Feb. 14 in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, has confessed to the attack, but a judge has entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Ryan Petty, the father of shooting victim Alaina Petty, called the disclosure a “stunning revelation.” He argued that the district’s discipline protocols created “perverse incentives” and “deadly chaos for our children, teachers & staff.”
Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in the attack, said the admission by Superintendent Robert W. Runcie confirmed “what I have been saying for the last month and Runcie has been denying.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, tweeted that the school district had misled him, and Stoneman Douglas student Kyle Kashuv said the superintendent “knowingly lied” about Mr. Cruz’s record.
“[Mr. Cruz] avoided arrest because of it,” Mr. Kashuv said. “That’s the point of the program. Students are referred to it in lieu of arrest.”
The program has been credited with drastically lowering the suspension, expulsion and arrest rates at Broward County schools but has been blamed for fueling classroom chaos by replacing traditional disciplinary measures with therapeutic approaches.
The complete story here > Nikolas Cruz was in Obama-backed discipline diversion program, Broward school district admits