by Neetu Chandak
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday he wants a grand jury to look into possible mistakes made by Broward County Public Schools in addressing the Parkland, Florida, shooting.
The grand jury would have more subpoena power and a greater scope compared to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which released a January 2019 report detailing the missteps during the shooting in 2018. The Florida Supreme Court will need to accept DeSantis’s petition in order for the grand jury investigation, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.
It is clear more needs to be done to keep our students safe. The statewide grand jury will consider whether refusal to follow mandates of school-related safety laws resulted in avoidable risk for students. More info on my request to the FL Supreme Court: https://t.co/qWq6jKh0ju pic.twitter.com/KHNVf7m56a
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 13, 2019
The grand jury would have to look at actions of all school districts in the state, however, DeSantis was clear the move was aimed for Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), the Sun Sentinel reported.
“There’s more evidence in Broward than other districts,” DeSantis said, according to the newspaper.
The grand jury would examine whether:
- School officials violated Florida law by under-reporting instances of crime to the state’s Department of Education.
- Schools failed or decided not to follow school-related safety laws, resulting in students unnecessarily at risk.
- Public institutions committed fraud by accepting state funding meant for school safety but then not acting properly.
- Schools misused multi-million dollar bonds meant for school safety.
“I agree with Governor DeSantis’s decision to examine safety measures in school districts throughout the state and support any review or investigation that could result in improved safety and security in our own district and school districts statewide,” BCPS Superintendent Robert Runcie said in a statement.
The safety commission, appointed by former Republican Gov. Rick Scott, found in its initial report that school doors were unlocked, cops were preoccupied with equipment instead of immediately confronting suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz and various communication problems.
The Parkland shooting occurred one year ago on Feb. 14, 2018. The massacre resulted in 17 people getting killed.
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