Report: Broward School Officials ‘Did Not Follow Through’ On Nikolas Cruz’s Pleas For Help Before Massacre
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz reportedly asked for help from school officials on at least two occasions well before his February deadly rampage against teachers and fellow students, but the school “did not follow through,” a newly released report found.
A report about Cruz’s behavioral issues written by the Collaborative Educational Network of Tallahassee and released Friday reveal two different instances where Broward school officials didn’t follow laws that govern how students with disabilities should be treated, according to The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast reports:
In Cruz’s junior year, after he had already begun exhibiting behavior so disturbing it led to guidance counselors wanting to have him committed, the teenager sat down with education specialists to discuss his options for further schooling. He was told he could transfer to Cross Creek, a school tailored for students with special needs; sue the Broward school district; or stay at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School without any special counseling. According to a review of that meeting featured in the new report, school officials left out one crucial fact: Cruz was still entitled to special assistance at Stoneman Douglas if he chose to stay.
Being unaware of this option, however, Cruz—whose developmental delays were flagged at age 3—was reportedly stripped of counseling services and left to fend for himself as a “regular student.”
Cruz reportedly changed his mind several months later and tried to transfer to the special needs school, but the district “did not follow through,” the report found.
The report was released heavily redacted, but the Sun-Sentinel pasted it into a computer file to make it visible, then released it on Saturday.
Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie defended his district’s handling of the situation.
“Nobody ever said this was an average child,” said Runcie, according to the Sun-Sentinel. “The district was the one — out of all the agencies — that was providing some level of service to the child.”
According to the Sun-Sentinel:
In the past, Runcie said that when Cruz turned 18 and rejected special education placement, the district could no longer provide him with the services given to students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. But the consultant’s report reveals for the first time that Cruz himself requested to return to special education, and his request went nowhere.