Families who sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) while claiming the FBI failed to stop a gunman who killed 17 students and injured 17 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have reached a multi-million dollar settlement.
The DOJ announced Wednesday that it had settled 40 civil cases that arose from the Parkland shooting on February 14, 2018, for $127.5 million, though it declared that the “settlement does not amount to an admission of fault by the United States.”
Six weeks before the gunman, who will not be named by The Daily Wire per policy on mass shooters, opened fire at the high school, the FBI received a tip saying that a former student had purchased guns and was planning to “slip into a school and start shooting the place up,” adding “I know he’s going to explode.” The tip was never sent to the FBI’s South Florida office and the FBI never followed up.
The FBI were not the only ones to be accused of failing to protect students at Marjory Stoneman. Ex-Broward County Sheriff Steve Israel’s policy stating that deputies “may” confront active shooters instead of “shall” was blamed in part for the death toll.
The school district also came under fire in August 2018 after a report found that the shooter had asked for help months before the shooting. The Daily Wire reported at the time:
According to The Daily Beast, the shooter was told that “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.”
The Sun-Sentinel noted that the investigation found that the school district “did not follow the requirements of Florida statute or federal laws governing students with disabilities” in two specific instances:
— School officials misstated [the shooter’s] options when he was faced with being removed from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School his junior year, leading him to refuse special education services.
— When [the shooter] asked to return to the therapeutic environment of Cross Creek School for special education students, the district “did not follow through,” the report reveals.
In February 2021, school board member Nora Rupert admitted in a deposition that she was intimidated into staying silent about the school’s safety failures, which have been blamed for the shooting. The Daily Wire reported at the time that when Rupert “tried to speak up about these failures, she claimed that she was met with an intimidation campaign from other board members and the district’s superintendent.”
In October 2021, the Parkland shooter “pleaded guilty to 17 counts of first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder,” The Daily Wire reported. His sentencing date was originally set to begin in February of this year, CBS Miami reported, but it has been pushed back to April 4 after prosecutors persuaded Judge Elizabeth Scherer to allow them more time to prepare their case, which could result in the death penalty.