After the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, we wrote about the myriad failures of Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in responding to the billowing red flags hoisted by the shooter. (Much of this failed response can be traced to pressure from the U.S. Department of Education to disrupt the “school to prison pipeline.”)
One program BCPS had established to deal with obstreperous, or even criminal, students – without suspending or expelling them or involving law enforcement — was the Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentors, Interventions, Supports & Education (PROMISE) program. PROMISE was part of a Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline signed by BCPS, the Sheriff’s Office, and others to govern how to handle these students.
Because the Parkland shooter had a long history of committing disciplinary disturbances without suffering serious consequence, it appeared likely he had been assigned to PROMISE. In fact, Broward County Sheriff’s Union president Jeff Bell said PROMISE was partly to blame for the shooter’s escaping arrest, because it “took all discretion away from the law enforcement officers to effect an arrest if we chose to.”
BCPS and the Sheriff’s Office went ballistic over any suggestion that PROMISE was implicated in this crime. Disgraced Sheriff Scott Israel denied any connection between PROMISE and the shooter, and BCPS claimed to have “no record” that the shooter participated in PROMISE. Superintendent Robert Runcie reiterated that denial. The wagons were circled to protect the progressive disciplinary program, apparently at all cost.
Well, never mind. BCPS has now confirmed that the shooter was indeed assigned to the federally lauded, vehemently protected, but tragically ineffective PROMISE program. It’s not clear how much of the program he went through, but he was in fact sent to PROMISE rather than to jail.
Apparently, gross incompetence isn’t a firing offense at BCPS or the Sheriff’s Office, but how about lying?