Report: Broward School Districts Prioritized Lawsuit Defense over ‘Honest Assessment’ of Parkland Massacre

This photo provided by the Broward County Jail shows Nikolas Cruz. Authorities say Cruz, a former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, killing more than a dozen people and injuring several. (Broward County Jail via AP)
Broward County Jail via AP

A report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel claims that Broward County Public Schools knew about the Parkland gunman before he attacked but suppressed that which they knew.

The Sentinel reports, “Immediately after 17 people were murdered inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the school district launched a persistent effort to keep people from finding out what went wrong.” They go on to highlight some of the things the school district allegedly did to hide information from the public, things like trying to “spread misinformation” and even “[seeking] to jail reporters who published the truth.”

The Sentinel reports that the district “spent untold amounts on lawyers to fight the release of records and nearly $200,000 to pay public relations consultants who advised administrators to clam up.” As a result, little more is publicly known now than was known within the first weeks after the heinous attack.

For example, the Sentinel acquired an uncensored report from the Collaborative Educational Network; this report evaluated how Broward schools handled would-be gunman Nikolas Cruz as he moved from grade to grade during his education. The report showed that “the district improperly withdrew support he needed; he asked for additional services; and the district bungled his request, leaving him spinning without help.”

The Sentinel noted things in the report which they claim the district never shared publicly. For one, Cruz told one of his middle school teachers, “I’m a bad kid. I want to kill.” And one of his eighth grade art teachers wrote a behavioral evaluation on Cruz which said, “I strongly feel that Nikolas is a danger to the students and faculty at this school. I do not feel that he understands the difference between his violent video games and reality.” In 2013 Cruz told a teacher, “I would rather be on the street killing animals and setting fires.” And the list goes on.

Cruz began to attend Stoneman Douglas full-time during the Spring semester of 2016. The Sentinel suggests the result of the alleged mishandling of Cruz meant that he transferred to Stoneman Douglas and “disappeared on a giant campus with 3,300 students and no structure for emotionally troubled students like him.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.

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