According to Paul Sperry of RealClearInvestigations.com, the Parkland, Florida school shooter was able to escape scrutiny despite dozens of red flags, including dozens of reports to police and at least two reports to the FBI, thanks to Obama administration policy dedicated to preventing the arrest of troubled students. Sperry writes:
Documents reviewed by RealClearInvestigations and interviews show that his school district in Florida’s Broward County was in the vanguard of a strategy, adopted by more than 50 other major school districts nationwide, allowing thousands of troubled, often violent, students to commit crimes without legal consequence. The aim was to slow the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
Sperry says that in 2013, the Broward County schools, at the behest of the Obama administration efforts to prevent too many students of color from ending up in jail for crimes committed on campus, had rewritten its disciplinary policies to make it nearly impossible to suspend, expel, or arrest students for behavioral problems including criminal activity.
Broward school Superintendent Robert W. Runcie – a Chicagoan and Harvard graduate with close ties to President Obama and his Education Department – signed an agreement with the county sheriff and other local jurisdictions to trade cops for counseling. Students charged with various misdemeanors, including assault, would now be disciplined through participation in “healing circles,” obstacle courses and other “self-esteem building” exercises. Asserting that minority students, in particular, were treated unfairly by traditional approaches to school discipline, Runcie’s goal was to slash arrests and ensure that students, no matter how delinquent, graduated without criminal records.
One of the lead advocates for this program was Sheriff Scott Israel, the overt leftist who has shied away from responsibility and sought instead to blame the National Rifle Association. In November 2013, he reportedly signed an agreement that spelled out 13 crimes that could no longer be reported to the police. Sperry continues:
In just a few years, ethnically diverse Broward went from leading the state of Florida in student arrests to boasting one of its lowest school-related incarceration rates. Out-of-school suspensions and expulsions also plummeted. … The core of the approach is a program called PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support & Education), which substitutes counseling for criminal detention for students who break the law.
The Sheriff’s Office is a partner in PROMISE.
Without an arrest record, the shooter could buy weapons. Without an arrest record, the police could not corroborate tips with past arrests or use those past arrests as the basis for parole violation, for example.
Sperry’s expose is devastating, and shows once again that ignoring crime does not make it go away — it just diffuses it, allowing it to metastasize.