Lenient disciplinary policies let a shooter go free

Editor’s note: This column was originally published on Sep. 9, 2019.

As students settle in for the new school year, parents must ask: Do I really know what’s happening in my kids’ school? Do I really know whether they are safe?

I didn’t know. But I want to be the last father in America who can honestly make that excuse. 

After my daughter, Meadow, was murdered in the February 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I wanted every answer. As I investigated, I realized that it was the most avoidable mass murder in American history. And I learned something else that keeps me up at night: The policies that made this massacre inevitable have spread to schools across America. 

A few weeks after the massacre, I asked whether the Broward school district’s disciplinary leniency policies enabled the shooter to slip through the cracks. Broward Superintendent Robert Runcie called questions like mine “fake news” because, he said, the shooter had never been referred to the school district’s PROMISE diversionary program “while in high school.” The program allows students who commit certain misdemeanors to avoid getting involved with the criminal justice system.

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