2.06.2022

The Parkland shooter was part of a 'school leniency policy' under Obama to have problem kids take part in "healing circles" and "self-esteem building exercises" - Could Nikolas Cruz have been stopped if authorities had been involved earlier?

https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2018/02/28/obama_administration_school_discipline_policy_and_the_parkland_shooting.html#!

 

 

"...... Despite committing a string of arrestable offenses on campus before the Florida school shooting, Nikolas Cruz was able to escape the attention of law enforcement, pass a background check and purchase the weapon he used to slaughter three staff members and 14 fellow students because of Obama administration efforts to make school discipline more lenient. 

Documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations and interviews show that his school district in Florida’s Broward County was in the vanguard of a strategy, adopted by more than 50 other major school districts nationwide, allowing thousands of troubled, often violent, students to commit crimes without legal consequence. The aim was to slow the "school-to-prison pipeline." 

“He had a clean record, so alarm bells didn’t go off when they looked him up in the system,” veteran FBI agent Michael Biasello told RCI. “He probably wouldn’t have been able to buy the murder weapon if the school had referred him to law enforcement."

Disclosures about the strategy add a central new element to the Parkland shooting story: It's not just one of official failings at many levels and of America's deep divide over guns, but also one of deliberate federal policy gone awry.

In 2013, the year before Cruz entered high school, the Broward County school system rewrote its discipline policy to make it much more difficult for administrators to suspend or expel problem students, or for campus police to arrest them for misdemeanors– including some of the crimes Cruz allegedly committed in the years and months leading up to the deadly Feb. 14 shooting at his Fort Lauderdale-area school.

The new policy resulted from an Obama administration effort begun in 2011 to keep students in school and improve racial outcomes (timeline here), and came against a backdrop of other efforts to rein in perceived excesses in "zero tolerance" discipline policies, including in Florida. 

Broward school Superintendent Robert W. Runcie – a Chicagoan and Harvard graduate with close ties to President Obama and his Education Department – signed an agreement with the county sheriff and other local jurisdictions to trade cops for counseling. Students charged with various misdemeanors, including assault, would now be disciplined through participation in “healing circles,” obstacle courses and other “self-esteem building” exercises.

Asserting that minority students, in particular, were treated unfairly by traditional approaches to school discipline, Runcie’s goal was to slash arrests and ensure that students, no matter how delinquent, graduated without criminal records.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel backed Runcie’s plan to diminish the authority of police in responding to campus crime. A November 2013 video shows him signing the district’s 16-page "collaborative agreement on school discipline,” which lists more than a dozen misdemeanors that can no longer be reported to police, along with five steps police must “exhaust” before even considering placing a student under arrest.

In just a few years, ethnically diverse Broward went from leading the state of Florida in student arrests to boasting one of its lowest school-related incarceration rates. Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions also plummeted. 

Runcie had been working closely with Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan on the reforms ever since landing the Broward job in 2011, using as a reference the name of the Cabinet secretary, his former boss in the Chicago school system. 

Applications for federal grants reveal that Runcie’s plan factored into approval of tens of millions of dollars in federal funding from Duncan's department."