The Parkland High School shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was in an Obama-era program that may have protected him? What is worse is that without this failed program the accused would-be shooter might have gone away for any number of his previous crimes. Meaning, the massacre could have been avoided, completely.
According to The Washington Times, 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.
After denying for months that Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz had any connection to a program created to soften school punishment and reduce student arrests — and characterizing assertions to the contrary as “fake news” — the Broward County school district is now acknowledging that Cruz was in fact referred to its PROMISE program.
On Sunday, district spokeswoman Tracy Clark told Miami Herald news partner WLRN that Cruz was referred to the program in 2013 after he vandalized a bathroom at Westglades Middle School, located just down the road from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz killed 17 students and wounded 17 more at the high school on Feb. 14.
Clark admitted the referral after two sources with knowledge of Cruz’s discipline records told WLRN that he was referred to the so-called PROMISE Program for a three-day stint for committing vandalism at his school. Clark said it was unclear whether Cruz actually attended the PROMISE program. She said he appeared at Pine Ridge Education Center in Fort Lauderdale — an alternative school facility where PROMISE is housed — for an intake interview the day after the vandalism incident, but it didn’t appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment.