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Politics

Runcie Splits Hairs: Parkland Shooter WAS in Broward's PROMISE Program

May 8, 2018 - 12:30pm
Nikolas Cruz
Nikolas Cruz

Finally it's out in the open: Despite what you thought you heard from Broward Superintendent of Schools Robert Runcie, Nikolas Cruz had been assigned to the county's PROMISE program.

WLRN has reported that two sources from within school district offices confirmed the confessed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter was, for a time -- albeit, a short one -- part of Broward's troubled-student program known as PROMISE, contradicting Runcie's claim that Cruz never had a connection to it.

Then Runcie's Chief Public Information Officer Tracy Clark said earlier in the month the district had "confirmed" Cruz's referral to PROMISE after he vandalized a bathroom at the middle school on Nov. 25, 2013.

Originating with the Obama administration, the Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Supports & Education (PROMISE) program is intended to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by redirecting students with disciplinary problems so they avoid incarceration. However, PROMISE was implicated after the death of the 14 students and three teachers at the Parkland high school, and now some investigators believe there was a possibility Runcie and Broward Sheriff Scott Israel were using it to bolster their image rather than improve the school environment.

Once the program was instituted between Runcie and Israel, arrests did plummet, but that may not have been a result of curbing unacceptable behavior. Israel has bragged about expanding the juvenile citation program and issuing citation mandates to his deputies. Within four years of Sheriff Israel instituting the program juvenile arrests were curtailed nearly 50 percent. Crime rates during this period remained static. 

Meanwhile, in the wake of the shooting, Runcie has repeatedly declared that Cruz had “no connection whatsoever" to PROMISE. He calls it “reprehensible” that people have tried to use the tragedy to target the program.

“Let me reiterate this point,” Runcie started off during an interview in his office last month. “Nikolas Cruz, the shooter that was involved in this horrific accident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, had no connection to the PROMISE program.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office has also made this declaration. 

It raises the question, then, why had Cruz not been directed into PROMISE? 

Besides multiple prior Sheriff's Office visits to his home, Cruz had been ushered through six different high schools over a three-year period -- one of those for emotionally troubled and/or disciplinary cases. As previously reported in Sunshine State News, the Department of Children and Families Adult Protective Service Program also made numerous visits to Cruz, with no action taken, even as case workers recorded instances of Cruz declaring his own depression, and telling school officials of his desire to purchase a gun.

In February Broward County Schools in a statement told SSN, “The District has no record of Nikolas Cruz committing a PROMISE-eligible infraction or being assigned the PROMISE while in high school.” This is a telling quote, as it may provide the District, and Runcie, just enough room to maintain plausible deniability in light of sources with Broward Schools confirming otherwise.

The revelation by school officials that Cruz had been in the PROMISE program carries two distinctions. The first is that he was referred to it for committing vandalism at Westglades Middle School, in 2013. Runcie may then hold his statement remains accurate, as he has said, “...while in high school.”  Additionally, according to one of the School District sources, “It does not appear that Cruz completed the recommended three-day assignment/placement.” Thus, when Runcie and BSO say he was never in the program, this too can technically be declared an accurate statement. 

But what is not excused away is the lack of enforcement of the Cruz admission to the PROMISE program, which becomes yet another systemic failure of authorities to take proper action -- all with this same individual.

For now, it appears Robert Runcie will be relying on those parsed definitions to evade responsibility from ever reaching his office. As his spokesman declared to WLRN, Runcie has “correctly stated” that Cruz was never connected to PROMISE while in high school. This in no way means that any of the actions surrounding this student were “correctly handled.”

Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this story exclusively for Sunshine State News. He writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.

Comments

"Promise" program my butt - most likely set up by LIBERALS so as to not hurt the feelings of Juvenile Delinquents. OPEN YOUR EYES!

What is this all about? NRA's attempt to change the subject from gun control to "it's everyone else's fault? How about it's All of the Above?....But what idiot can blame the PROMISE program - by conjuring up phony data? Or because it has Obama's name attached to it. Yada, yada, yada.

Seems like people are realizing that which has Obamas' name attached to it are poorly crafted programs and ideas that are now for the most part being done away with.

don't just blame the promise program, Broward Schools or Sheriff. Blame them, the DCF, FBI, and everyone else that had contact with this boy on his way to this tragedy and did nothing... Blame the school security who radioed ahead that he was on school property yet did nothing long before he entered the building. This was a bi-partisan, epic failure of massive proportions...

don't just blame the promise program, Broward Schools or Sheriff. Blame them, the DCF, FBI, and everyone else that had contact with this boy on his way to this tragedy and did nothing... Blame the school security who radioed ahead that he was on school property yet did nothing long before he entered the building. This was a bi-partisan, epic failure of massive proportions...

The Promise program is a sad attempt to attract Federal money on the false basis of lowered arrest/incarceration records. Unfortunately, Eunice and Iseael were only thinking about $$ and not the safety of the people.

When will the false dangerous logic of the "Promise" program be accepted

Is all the leadership of Broward County schools and Sheriff's office think the people that stupid Both the Sheriff and Superintendent need to resign. If not, this will happen again.

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