Not everyone reads the WSJ but any American who wants to understand what happened at the Parkland School Massacre should read the interview conducted by Tunku Varadarajan with Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow, murdered by Nikolas Cruz ( A Parkland Father’s Quest for Accountability 1/12/19). If you can’t get that, read the book that Pollack co-wrote - “Why Meadow Died: The People and Policies That Created the Parkland Shooter and Endangered America’s Students” coming out in February. For those who believe that the primary problem here was and is gun control, this is particularly mandatory.
The title of this piece refers not to any pledge but to an acronym for a program created in 2011 by Robert Runcie, superintendent of the Broward County Public Schools: Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support and Education. This was developed to combat the assumed racism of teachers because of the disparity between white and minority students when it came to reported out of control behavior at school. Under this new program, students committing criminal acts would be evaluated and dealt with by school personnel, not by law enforcement. One of the worst examples of the law of unintended consequences is that no student offender ever developed a criminal record so that background checks for buying weapons would be non-existent. Instead of apprehension and punishment, students were sent to “healing circles” and other politically correct remedial activities. To give you a measure of Mr. Cruz’s behavior in school, here is a summary: vandalizing a bathroom that required $1,000 of repair; racial fist fights; carving swastikas on his desk; bringing dead animals to school and waving them at other students; threats to kill teachers, students and to shoot up the school; bringing knives and a backpack of bullets to school, writing KILL in his notebooks. None of this was reported to police. Along with the school chancellor, the sheriff was intent on reducing juvenile arrests so that despite being called to the Cruz home an incredible 45 times, the police never arrested the out of control perpetrator who was able to maintain a clean record.
In 2014, the Obama administration endorsed the PROMISE program and urged the nation’s school boards to adopt these or similar programs or risk loss of funding. A similar threat was issued to colleges and universities so that sexual harassment would come under the Title IX anti-discrimination law and reports of molestation, harassment or rape would be dealt with by school advisory boards instead of the police. This procedure effectively removed due process from all hearings and the accused lost the right to face his accuser, among other things Under the current administration, both policies have been curtailed but school boards are free to choose to follow the PROMISE program. Broward County has not abandoned it , even after the death toll of 14 students and 3 adults on Valentine’s Day, 2018.
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