The story behind Nikolas Cruz and the shooting of 33 former classmates and staff is one of the repeated failures of the system from the FBI to the school to the sheriff’s office to social services. The massacre was very foreseeable but politics got in the way. Specifically, politics, funding of more than $53 million, and Chicago school discipline got in the way.
This Was Obama-Chicago Discipline
The Superintendent of Broward County Schools, Robert Runcie, came out of Chicago and the Duncan-Obama administration.
The Miami-Herald reported: In 2003, Arne Duncan, then head of the Chicago school district and later Secretary of Education under Barack Obama asked Runcie to oversee the district’s technology department. Runcie went on to serve in other administrative roles, including as chief of staff for the Board of Education, before becoming the Broward schools superintendent in 2011.
In 2016, he made $335,000 a year in a region that has poor mental health services due to lack of funds. He was well-paid to bring down the numbers and alter the so-called school-to-prison pipeline.
It was supposed to happen as a result of the Promise program.
The school board instituted a program called Promise which made not reporting criminal behavior a standard policy. Police said they did not have discretion in arrests, according to the President of the Sheriff’s union.
The Promise [Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support, and Education] program kept Nikolas Cruz from getting arrested. Not having a record allowed him to buy guns.
The program began in 2012 as a way of dealing with the district recording the highest number of school-related arrests statewide (over 1,000). Superintendent Runcie, with strong connections to Obama, was expected to stop the alleged school-to-prison pipeline.
The program was geared towards keeping minorities out of prison. The killer’s name was Cruz, making him a minority.
An agreement was drawn up with police and community organizations like the NAACP which kept kids out of jail based on race but didn’t necessarily deal with the issues they had.
Principals, instead of school resource officers [sheriffs], became the primary decision makers in responding to student misbehavior.
Misdemeanors were supposed to be overlooked but records suggest more serious crimes were ignored to keep the money flowing. The district had to continually show improvement in statistics. There is no question the serious threats by Cruz to shoot up the school were reported to the sheriff’s office and he ignored them.
$53 Million in Grants
With a cooperative judge and the Superintendent’s tight connections to the Obama administration, arrests were down 66% within one year of Runcie’s arrival. Grant money started flowing into the school district. The school district initially received over $53 million in grants to facilitate “improved life for students in poverty/students of color.”
The Last Refuge has been investigating this for years and uncovered documentation making a very convincing case for the entire program being corrupted by funds and statistics.
The extent of killer Nikolas Cruz’s disciplinary problems was summarized by the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami-Herald. In addition to a slew of disabilities, Cruz had been out of control for years. As a New York educator for more than 30 years, I can tell you that long before Cruz blew completely, he would have been in a residential school.
One of the program’s participants, Juvenile Court judge Elijah Williams, speaking at a 2013 signing ceremony for PROMISE, focused on the statistics. “We are waiting for our numbers to come in,” he told the audience.
Elijah Williams said, “We already bought the ticket. We are waiting for our numbers to come in. We know we have hit the jackpot when our school-related arrests go down, down down.”
Promise of Detroit
A caller into Rush Limbaugh Monday discussed the Promise program in the Detroit City schools. As an educator, I believe him.
Research provided by Herb Richmond.