Broward County Student's Investigation Uncovers School Board's Alarming Failure to Keep Students Safe

| APR 27, 2018 | 3:24 PM
Broward County students

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Broward County student journalist Kenneth Preston, 19, published the findings of his investigation into “factors and individuals who share blame” in the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, which alleges the school board neglected school safety.

“I have come to the conclusion that Superintendent Runcie and members of the school board have failed at their essential role in keeping our students safe,” he wrote, adding it may have been “because of incompetence or the incentive of federal dollars.”

“If the people who were complicit in facilitating an environment in which something like this could occur don’t face consequences, then there is no justice,” he continued.

After confronting the school board two weeks ago, Preston detailed evidence that he uncovered gross “money mismanagement,” arguing the school has only spent roughly 5 percent of the more than $100 million available for school safety since 2014.

Additionally, the superintendent, school board and sheriff's office created a program called “Promise,” which allowed school administrators to deal with 13 misdemeanors committed by students that would have formerly been referred to law enforcement.

Preston claims shooter Nikolas Cruz benefited from this program, as he was reported for all offenses, but was never arrested. Student resource officers were also allegedly instructed not to arrest students for felonies in addition to the misdemeanors covered by “Promise.”

@kennethrpreston/Twitter

“I’m sorry to say, but we all knew some sort of tragedy like this was going to happen in Broward,” a veteran Broward County sheriff's deputy said. “You can’t just stop arresting kids and send kids straight from juvie back into schools without expecting something like this.”

“As officers, our hands were tied… the decisions were political ones, not well researched or backed by evidence, just follow the money,” he continued. “If they really wanted to know what worked, they would’ve asked us the officers.”