School Superintendent During Parkland Shooting Indicted for Perjury

Family member embrace following a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie, who led the district at the time of the mass shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, was indicted for perjury and arrested on Wednesday.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported:

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and General Counsel Barbara Myrick were arrested Wednesday as part of a statewide grand jury probe into the district.

Runcie was arrested on a charge of perjury in an official proceeding, a third-degree felony. Myrick was arrested on a charge of unlawful disclosure of statewide grand jury proceedings, also a third-degree felony.

The grand jury’s primary focus was to review school safety in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, but it has expanded its scope to include corruption and mismanagement in district operations.

Runcie has been superintendent since 2011 and makes $356,000 a year. Myrick has been general counsel since 2016 and a district employee since 2002. She makes $220,000.

The details of the allegations were unclear, because of the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings from which they arose. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) impaneled the grand jury in 2019.

However, Runcie has long been criticized for his handling of the district’s policy on misconduct in school. Broward County’s PROMISE program aimed to provide minority youth with alternatives to criminal sentencing for misconduct, so that they would not leave school with prison records.

Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter, Meadow, in the shooting, has argued that Runcie’s program allowed Nicholas Cruz, the 19-year-old shooter, to avoid any convictions and therefore purchase firearms.

In 2018, it was revealed that Cruz was in the PROMISE program, despite Runcie’s earlier denials, as Breitbart News noted:

On Sunday, Broward County school officials admitted that Cruz had been assigned to the PROMISE program while in middle school. Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie had been stating that there could be no connection between the PROMISE program and the shooting because Cruz had not been assigned to that program while in high school.

In March, Runcie wrote, “Contrary to media reports, the district has no record of Nikolas Cruz committing a PROMISE eligible infraction or being assigned to PROMISE while in high school.”

According to a report at WLRN, the Broward Sheriff’s Office also said regarding Cruz, “The school board reports that there was no PROMISE program participation.”

The school district now admits, however, that Cruz was referred to PROMISE while in middle school following a vandalism incident. However, Tracey Clark, a spokeswoman for Runcie, also said, “It does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement,” and added she did not want to “speculate” as to why.

Last year, Pollack wrote that Runcie had used false allegations of racism to deflect criticism from angry local parents:

The school district lied to the public. They stonewalled the press. They threatened would-be whistleblowers. When Parkland parents started to learn the truth, they demanded accountability in a series of meetings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) with Broward superintendent Robert Runcie. 

Shortly after that, the Broward school district announced a public meeting. Runcie’s deputy sent an e-mail to local black church leaders telling them that the rhetoric they heard at MSD was “vile” stuff like they hadn’t heard “since desegregation orders were enforced.” It was a lie. When challenged, they provided no evidence to back their race-baiting claim. 

But it worked. At the public meeting, hundreds of well-meaning black citizens showed up… and booed families of the victims. You can’t really even blame them. On the one hand, they were booing grieving parents who were calling for accountability after failed policies and leadership got their kids murdered. But on the other hand, they were told that these grieving parents were really closeted segregationists. 

Pollack said in 2018: “One by one, we’ll expose everything that happened that led up to [the] February 14 [shooting].”

On Wednesday, he told Breitbart News:

It’s been a long process and the first and biggest [step] was getting Governor [Ron] Desantis elected. He promised me accountability so I got behind him and put everything I had on help getting him elected. He removed Sheriff [Scott] Israel and put a Grand jury investigation into Broward schools. Robert Runcie brought the policies to Broward that led to my daughter and 16 others getting murdered. He has never accepted any responsibility for that. I will never be the guy I was or as happy as I was but today was a win for the 17 victims and their families.

Runcie will plead not guilty, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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