Earlier this year, 17 people were killed and countless others were wounded when Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old troubled teen from Parkland, Florida, opened fire on students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. Unfortunately though, rather than be as transparent as possible in the wake of the terrible tragedy, the Florida school district’s liberal officials have been actively lying and stonewalling efforts to illuminate the truth.
For example, several weeks ago, Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey R. Levenson ordered the members of the Broward School Board to release additional video footage of the incident. Instead of promptly releasing the footage, however, the board decided to fight the ruling in court and have since filed an appeal in a desperate attempt to keep some of the information about the shooter and the school a secret.
To justify their attempt to block the release of the videos, which came after Judge Levenson gave them two weeks to review the requested footage, school officials argued that making them public would “expose the limits of the cameras on campus and weaken school security,” and prosecutors added that video records are currently “the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation,” making them “exempt from public release.”
In his initial ruling, though, Levenson dismissed the prosecutor’s claim that the video was “part of an active criminal investigation” and determined that the “strong public interest in disclosure” outweighed the “potential harm” to the school’s security system.
Sadly, appealing Levenson’s ruling is not the only way the liberal school officials in Broward County have been hindering the quest for truth. They have also been caught misleading the public about important details related to the incident.
For example, following Cruz’s arrest, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie was asked by reporters whether or not there was a connection between the troubled teen and an Obama-era “alternative discipline program,” known as the “PROMISE” program, designed to limit on-campus arrests.
Although the superintendent initially insisted that there was “no connection” between the two, it has since been revealed that the teen had, in fact, been referred to such a program.
Specifically, in a recent announcement about the matter, district spokesperson Tracy Clark stated, “late Friday evening, after diligently analyzing data from multiple sources and systems, we confirmed that while attending Westglades Middle School in 2013, there was a disciplinary infraction (‘Vandalism/Destruction of Property less than $1,000’ offense on November 25, 2013, in a bathroom at Westglades Middle School), that could have been a PROMISE eligible offense.”
What’s worse, on top of not being arrested when he should have, Cruz also never even went to the program because the school officials failed to properly follow up on his progress.
“While our records indicate that Cruz underwent an intake interview/process at Pine Ridge on November 26, 2013, it does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement,” Clark admitted.
When questioned about his previous assertion that there was “no connection” between Cruz and PROMISE, Runcie told reporters that he was simply just relaying information he had been told by others.
“I gave people what I had at the time relative to Nikolas Cruz’s involvement in the program,” he explained.
“I could not tell the media and the public when they asked those questions, ‘You know what? Wait till June when we get our complete investigation done,’ because there’s a level of impatience out there,” continued Runcie.
“I was conveying what information I had received from staff internally, and that’s where we were at that moment in time. There was no intent to mislead the public, but it was a mistake on my part to not qualify it further,” he added, noting, “we are still reviewing records that we have, to make sure, and we may end up changing it again.”
This isn’t the only time that Runcie has misled reporters about details related to the incident involving Cruz. He also previously minimized the amount of time the other students at the school had been at risk by falsely stating when Cruz had started as a part-time student and when he transitioned to full-time status.
Much like with his claim about the teen’s involvement with PROMISE, however, Runcie refused to take any responsibility for his lie when confronted about it. Instead, he blamed the false claim on “incorrect information that had been provided to him.”
Unsurprisingly, the school district’s lack of transparency has concerned countless residents, including County Commissioner Michael Udine, who used to be a mayor of Parkland.
“People want the whole truth, they want the whole truth quickly and they want the complete truth out in the open,” reasoned Udine.
“Everything’s coming out at some point. The half-answers that have come out — whether he was in the Promise program at one time or not completely in the program — is not the right way to handle it,” he continued, adding, “full and complete transparency is what’s called for here.”
Ryan Petty, who lost his 14-year-old daughter, Alaina, during the mass shooting earlier this year, also spoke out against the school official’s lack of transparency.
“It would appear that the district is more interested in protecting their programs than they are the students and teachers in our schools,” complained Petty while speaking to reporters. “As a father, I would ask the district to please be completely transparent so we can make sure this doesn’t happen to any other children in any other schools in Florida,” he implored.
Despite the fact that the school district clearly failed to take the necessary steps to prevent Cruz’s rampage from ever taking place, countless liberals have still been adamantly pushing for misguided legislation that restricts the rights instead of addresses issues like this.
For example, shortly after the tragedy in Parkland, Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) proposed an updated bill, known as “The Gun Violence Prevention and Safe Communities Act,” that would, quite absurdly, increase the federal tax on guns and ammunition if passed.
In addition to Rep. Davis, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) also used the mass shooting in Florida to push absurd anti-gun legislation.
Specifically, while speaking at a “Town Hall” that was hosted by CNN shortly after the incident took place, Sen. Nelson promoted a bill banning roughly 200 rifles that he had just co-sponsored with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
Without a doubt, the school district’s failure to be completely accurate and transparent with the information that they have provided to the public is deeply concerning. If those on the left truly want to prevent a similar incident like this from occurring in the future, then they should be focusing on all of the things that the school officials did wrong rather than pushing for misguided laws that restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners.