Broward County school officials in Florida are now admitting that confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz had been assigned to PROMISE, an Obama-era school discipline program that encouraged teachers and principals not to report threatening and assaultive behavior of minority students to law enforcement in order to appear non-discriminatory.
Tracy Clark, a spokeswoman for Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie, said Sunday the school district had “confirmed” Cruz’s referral to the PROMISE program following his vandalism of a middle school bathroom on November 25, 2013, reports WLRN.
“It does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement,” Clark added, however, stating as well she did not want to “speculate” as to why.
The spokeswoman said Cruz made an appearance at Pine Ridge Education Center in Fort Lauderdale — the PROMISE alternative school facility — for his intake interview the day after the vandalism incident.
Both Runcie and the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) said publicly that Cruz did not attend the controversial program that likely inspired the Obama administration’s plan to shrink the “school to prison pipeline.”
The Obama administration threatened school districts with the possibility of federal investigation and loss of funding if their statistics showed disproportionately more minority students arrested and suspended.
When the controversy erupted over the fact that, despite an alleged extensive history of violence, assaults, and threats, Cruz evaded arrest and was able to obtain a firearm, Runcie actually denied his PROMISE program was at all instrumental in Cruz’s shooting.
“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,” he wrote in March.
Max Eden, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, however, told Breitbart News Runcie’s statement deserved a closer look.
“Runcie’s careful formulation contains a falsehood, several omissions, and obfuscations,” he said at the time. “It doesn’t cover middle school, where Cruz racked up about two dozen offenses and was transferred into an intensive behavior management school – without ever getting an arrest record.”
“The school board reports that there was no PROMISE program participation,” BSO representative Jack Dale also recently said, according to WLRN.
Cruz’s high school discipline records were obtained by WLRN and reportedly show he had been in trouble for fighting and verbal assault while at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School.
“[T]hose infractions didn’t meet the eligibility requirements for PROMISE,” the news report notes. “In both cases, he was suspended.”
With the confirmation now that Cruz had been referred to PROMISE while in middle school, Eden told Breitbart News Monday Runcie’s words in March were very deliberate.
“The mainstream media accepted this carefully parsed statement as a categorical denial,” he explained. “But those words weren’t there by accident. He was sent to PROMISE while in middle school. And let me assure you, he committed crimes that school administrators knew about but did not record.”
The PROMISE program allows students who commit any of 13 misdemeanors at school to avoid arrest and, instead, receive “restorative justice” counseling such as “talking circles” and other forms of therapy. The PROMISE collaborative agreement specifically mentions that “students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students are disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers.”
As WLRN reports, Runcie has said he cannot discuss Cruz’s school records due to privacy laws. However, he added that since Cruz was diagnosed as “disabled,” school disciplinary procedures were more complicated.
The PROMISE program, and others like it that many cities throughout the United States adopted following the coercive “guidance” from the Obama administration, is now under close scrutiny by the Trump administration in the wake of the death of 17 people and the injuries of 17 others at the Parkland high school during the February 14 shooting.