Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was referred to discipline program before shooting
The Parkland shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was referred to an Obama-era discipline program years before he killed 17 people. However, it isn't clear whether Cruz attended it.
The Parkland shooting suspect, Nikolas Cruz, was referred to an Obama-era discipline program years before he killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida, a school official reportedly confirmed. However, it is not yet clear whether Cruz attended the program or not.
The 19-year-old former student of Stoneman Douglas High school, Cruz, opened fire on campus with his legally-bought AR-15 rifle, killing 17 people on February 14. Most of the victims of the massacre included students and teachers of the institution. He was later charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the first degree and 17 counts of attempted murder in the first degree.
School district spokesperson Tracy Clark said that after Cruz was assigned to Broward County Public Schools' Promise ("Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports and Education") program in 2013 after he vandalized a middle school bathroom, according to WLRN.
Under the Promise program students who are charged with nonviolent offenses are allowed to be handled by school officials instead of law enforcement.
Clark, while speaking to WLRN, said that Cruz, a day after the vandalism incident, had an intake interview at Fort Lauderdale's Pine Ridge Education Center, which is an alternative school facility which is attended by students who are assigned to Promise.
"It does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement," Clark added.
The father of one of the Parkland shooting victims Alaina, Ryan Petty, took to Twitter on Sunday to comment on the latest development in the case.
"This is a stunning revelation & one that flies in the face of previous statements. That the District released it on a Sunday is all the more concerning," Petty tweeted.
This is a stunning revelation & one that flies in the face of previous statements. That the District released it on a Sunday is all the more concerning.— Ryan Petty (@rpetty) May 7, 2018
A report on the Parkland suspect is being compiled by an independent firm, which includes Cruz's academic records, the services provided to him, including the policies and procedures during the time period he attended Broward County Public Schools. The report is set to be released in June.
Clark, in a statement to Newsweek, said: "Broward County Public Schools has correctly and accurately stated that Nikolas Cruz did not participate in the Promise program, which is for nonviolent infractions, while attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."
The school district spokesperson, in her statement, confirmed that although Cruz had an intake interview for the program, it "does not appear" that he completed the placement process.
"Rather than speculate about the possible reasons for his not returning [to the alternative school where the program is held], we feel it’s important to wait until we have the facts associated with his specific circumstances," Clark's statement added.
The Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie had reportedly previously denied that Cruz had any connection with the Promise program. However, the district had particularly cited Cruz's high school record with Promise and did not mention any disciplinary action concerning Cruz in 2013.
Broward County Public Schools, in a statement in March, had said: "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."
An article link of the development was tweeted by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Monday who said that the main issue was the manner in which the Promise program is being applied.
The more we learn, the more it appears the problem is not the program or the DOE guidance itself, but the way it is being applied. It may have created a culture discourages referral to law enforcement even in egregious cases like the #Parkland shooter.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 13, 2018
"It may have created a culture discourages referral to law enforcement even in egregious cases like the #Parkland shooter," Rubio said in his tweet.