UPDATE 2/13/2019: After several days of asking Sun Sentinel journalists to look into the details surrounding the rejection by the Broward County School District of proposed legislation that would have put a focus on school safety and security, the Sun Sentinel published their story.
Failure by Broward County Schools leaders. Almost every day we discover more evidence of the failure by Superintendent Robert Runcie and Broward Schools to take school safety seriously. Several people informed me that Parkland parent Stephen Feuerman read part of a 2013 Broward School board agenda item on school safety at last evening’s MSD Parent meeting, hosted by Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
When you look at the agenda in more detail, it is damning for Superintendent Runcie and the School Board because both failed to implement promised school safety measures after the Sandy Hook tragedy, yet unabashedly raised tax dollars for school safety via the 2014 $800 million SMART Bond.
In the aftermath of Sandy Hook legislation was proposed to create an independent entity to handle school safety in Broward County. Runcie and the Board moved quickly to stop this effort and promised to do many things that *could* have had an impact on the lives of our children, spouses, and community.
In 2013 Mr. Runcie wrote,
There is proposed legislation that would allow Broward County voters to establish a special taxing district to fund security, safety and mental health needs. While we very much appreciate this effort on behalf of our school district, we have concerns with this proposal. A special taxing district, if approved by the voters would not generate revenue until 2015. Although more funding is always welcome, the School Board cannot wait, and is not waiting, that long to address its safety concerns.
In an effort to make the case that a special taxing district was not needed, the Superintendent and the School Board indicated that they would take a number of steps to ensure school safety. They said,
The School Board has:
- Requested our municipal and county law enforcement to increase their presence at our schools.
- Required each school to review its school safety plan. This review is in addition to the annual review that schools already are required to perform.
- Initiated a survey of each school site to determine the needs and costs to provide further hardening (e.g., retrofitting windows, doors, installing different locks).
- Assigned our limited corps of School District Police Officers to maintain an increased presence at schools that do not have full-time, dedicated School Resource Officers (SRO’s.)
- Instructed all of our schools to engage in mock emergency drills and practice lockdowns.
- Instituted additional training for our School Security Specialists and Campus Security Monitors.The School Board intends to expand its SRO Program to provide an SRO at each school. We are currently exploring options for how this can be accomplished in the immediate future.
If any of these recommendations sound familiar it is in fact, because they are. Fast forward 5 years and several of them were found in the MSD Commission report. These should have been completed back in 2013 and certainly after the $800m SMART Bond, a complete failure by Robert Runcie and Broward County Schools.
Superintendent Runcie is pushing a narrative that school safety wasn’t really a topic before MSD. His minions have even gone as far as saying the killer is a creation of the Parkland community. I went to Twitter tonight to combat this narrative and try to set the record straight about the failure by Superintendent Robert Runcie and by Broward Schools to address school safety, as they promised to do in 2013. For those on Twitter, see this thread:
At last night's #MSD Parent meeting, a document was read to @RobertwRuncie. It is a damning indictment of his failure to protect the students and teachers of Broward County as the Superintendent. https://t.co/Z6yaz16W0b *Thread 1/ pic.twitter.com/EjxZtA6AiQ
— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) February 7, 2019
I have archived the original documents on Scribd.