Broward County Likely ‘Inspiration’ for Obama School Discipline Policy to Report Fewer Arrests, Suspensions
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The Broward County school district’s adoption of a school discipline policy that was praised by the Obama administration for seeking to reduce the reported number of school suspensions, expulsions, and arrests may have played a role in the fact that Nikolas Cruz remained under the radar until his shooting rampage in Parkland, Florida, on February 14.
“The facts pattern that has emerged strongly suggests it played a role,” Manhattan Institute senior fellow Max Eden tells Breitbart News. “It’s not actually accurate to say that what Broward County did was the result of the Obama policy. It might be more accurate to say that what Broward County did was in some way the inspiration for Obama’s policy.”
The Obama-era Departments of Education and Justice – under education secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder –issued school guidelines in 2014 that claimed students of color are “disproportionately impacted” by suspensions and expulsions, a situation they said leads to a “school-to-prison pipeline” that discriminates against minority and low-income students.
“Broward County was the first to have the goal of lowering suspensions, lowering expulsions, lowering arrests,” explains Eden. “And, so, they decided to reduce police involvement by not bringing in cops to arrest kids for a whole range of serious offenses, and then, as you would expect, the arrests go down when you stop arresting. That was taken to be a sign of success, based on that metric alone.”
According to the Obama administration’s 2014 “Dear Colleague” guidance, any school district whose disciplinary measures showed “disparate impact” – meaning a disproportionately greater number of minority students are affected – is open to investigation by the Departments of Justice and Education, regardless of whether the behavior leading to the discipline is unacceptable.
Eden explained at National Review in November how the Obama-era school discipline policy “extended Black Lives Matter’s ideology down into America’s classrooms”:
Social-justice activists assumed that just as racial disparities in the criminal-justice system must be evidence that cops are (at least implicitly) racist, so too racial disparities in school suspensions must be evidence that teachers are (at least implicitly) racist. Therefore, teachers — like cops — have to be restrained.
Several years before the Obama school discipline policy appeared, however, the Broward County school board hired as superintendent Robert Runcie – who had worked for Duncan in Chicago – and also joined with the NAACP, law enforcement, and government agencies to adopt the district’s Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline, dubbed PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support, and Education).
As M. Catharine Evans reports at American Thinker, in academic year 2011-2012, just prior to the school board’s decision to hire Runcie, the Broward County public school district had 1,062 school-related arrests – the highest number in Florida.
The Obama administration’s Department of Education was also involved in implementing PROMISE. Obama, who routinely dangled carrots in the form of matching federal grants to local districts for their participation in Common Core and Race to the Top, doled out millions to Broward.
With the promise of federal monies, it’s no surprise that Superintendent Runcie (annual salary: $335,000) was happy to oblige his friends in D.C. Within a year of Runcie’s arrival, student arrest rates were down 66 percent, and Broward County Schools were about to hit the federal jackpot.
One of the premises of the PROMISE program cited in the agreement and supported by data from the Obama Department of Education Office for Civil Rights reads:
WHEREAS, across the country, students of color, students with disabilities and LGBTQ students are disproportionately impacted by school-based arrests for the same behavior as their peers.
“In 2015, the Obama administration brought them to a White House Summit on rethinking school discipline and to highlight their success and tell school districts throughout the country, ‘Look at what Broward is doing as an example,’” Eden says.
Broward County Sheriff Union president Jeff Bell told Laura Ingraham on Fox News that he places some blame for the horrific shooting on the school board and the adoption of its PROMISE program:
For years they know that the schools have been soft targets, and they claim that they want to have better police presence inside the schools, and they want tougher security, but, yet, they do not want to cough up the money to pay for that better security and fortify their schools and have better designs. They don’t want that. And, then when they are fortunate to have a school resource officer deputy on scene, and armed police presence, a lot of the liberal-thinking principals on campus there, they don’t want the police officers making arrests on campus, and they don’t want the drugs to be found on campus, and they don’t want the warrants to be served on campus because it looks like there’s bad stats at the school.
So, I place a lot of blame on the school board with that and some of the programs that they’ve initiated with the state attorney and the sheriff’s office in years past. For example, the PROMISE program … the problem is when that program started, we took all discretion away from the law enforcement officers to effect an arrest if we choose to.
During an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel first defended the PROMISE program as one that is “helping many, many people,” but then later admitted that if a report is not made about an aggressive student’s behavior to law enforcement, “there’s no malfeasance or misfeasance if you don’t know about something”:
TAPPER: I think there are a lot of people, sir, who think that there are a lot of mistakes, other than that one deputy.
But let me ask you something else. A lot of people in the community have noted that the Broward County School Board entered into an agreement when you were sheriff in 2013 to pursue the — quote — “least punitive means of discipline” against students.
This new policy encouraged warnings, consultations with parents and programs on conflict resolution, instead of arresting students for crimes.
Were there not incidents committed by the shooter as a student had this new policy not been in place that otherwise he would have been arrested for and not able to legally buy a gun?
ISRAEL: What you’re referring to is the PROMISE Program.
And it’s giving the school — the school has the ability under certain circumstances not to call the police, not to get the police involved on misdemeanor offenses and take care of it within the school. It’s an excellent program.
It’s helping many, many people. What this program does is not put a person at 14, 15, 16 years old into the criminal justice system.
TAPPER: What if he should be in the criminal justice system? What if he does something violent to a student? What if he takes bullets to school? What if he takes knives to schools? What if he threatens the lives of fellow students?
ISRAEL: Then he goes to jail. That’s not applicable in the PROMISE Program.
TAPPER: That’s not what happened. But that’s not what happened with the shooter.
ISRAEL: If – Jake, you’re telling me that the shooter took knives to school or bullets to school, and police knew about it?
TAPPER: I don’t know if police knew about it.
ISRAEL: No. Well, police …
TAPPER: I know that the agreement that you entered into with the school allowed the school to give this kid excuse after excuse after excuse, while, obviously …
ISRAEL: Not for bullets, not for bullets, not for guns, not for knives, not for felonies, not for anything like that. These are infractions within the school, small amounts of marijuana, some misdemeanors.
You’re absolutely exacerbating it. That’s not …
TAPPER: There are at teachers at the school had been told, if you see Cruz come on campus with a backpack, let me know.
Does that not indicate that there is something seriously awry with the PROMISE Program if these teachers are being told, watch out for this kid, and you don’t know about it?
ISRAEL: We don’t know that that has anything to do with the PROMISE Program. I didn’t hear about this until after the fact. I have heard about this information about a week ago. I do know about it. I don’t know who the teacher was. It hasn’t been corroborated, but that has nothing to do with the PROMISE Program.
I can’t, nor can any other Broward sheriff’s deputy, handle anything or act upon something you don’t know about it. There’s no malfeasance or misfeasance if you don’t know about something.
“So much of the question that we should be asking is how did Cruz go under the radar and what role these policies played in that, because we have evidence that, at a lower level, these dynamics are playing out in school districts across the country,” Eden asserts.
He observes that in Washington, DC, principals of nearly every high school “systematically took suspensions off the books.”
“They told teachers not to let those students back into school, but they never told Central Office about it,” he explains. “So how much troubling student behavior was never able to be processed because of the way administrators reacted to a shift that says we expect you to post lower numbers on disciplinary problems?”
Evans notes that in October 2016, Broward County’s school board and its partners renewed the PROMISE agreement:
After the 2016 signing, it was announced a couple of weeks later on October 18, BCPS was the only large urban district in the country to receive a Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education totaling $53,808, 909. One of the TIF’s grant priorities is listed as “improved life for students in poverty/students of color.”
Nevertheless, as the Washington Post reported, the Florida Department of Children and Families report regarding the investigation into Cruz states that, in 2016, school resource officer Scot Peterson had been approached by investigators, but “refused to share any information … regarding [an] incident that took place with” Cruz.
The Post continues:
That same year, the sheriff’s office revealed Thursday, it was told about “third hand information” from a “neighbor’s son” suggesting that Cruz “planned to shoot up the school,” although the specific school was not listed. The sheriff’s office said a deputy contacted the caller, determined that Cruz had knives and a BB gun and sent the information to the school resource officer — presumably Peterson. It is unclear whether he investigated.
“If we’re trying to answer the question, ‘How did Nikolas Cruz remain under the radar?’ it certainly seems as though part of that answer is the fact that the radar was shifted and that students like him were supposed to be put under the radar in the first place,” Eden suggests. “The point of the PROMISE program was to not let them know about it.”
Nikki Haley Breaks with Trump: ‘We Shouldn’t Have Followed Him, and We Shouldn’t Have Listened to Him’
Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, believes that former President Donald Trump “let us down.”
Haley’s remarks come as the former president’s legal team prepares to present its defense of Trump during his second impeachment trial in the Senate.
In a Politico interview published Friday, Haley, former South Carolina governor, said that “we shouldn’t have followed” Trump.
“We need to acknowledge he let us down,” she said in an extensive profile. “He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again.”
She also told the outlet that she has not spoken to Trump since the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and takes issue with his remarks condemning former Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to reject the Electoral College vote.
“When I tell you I’m angry, it’s an understatement,” she expressed. “I am so disappointed in the fact that [despite] the loyalty and friendship he had with Mike Pence, that he would do that to him. Like, I’m disgusted by it.”
The former ambassador, who many people are speculating may run for the White House in 2024, also added that Trump will never accept the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“There’s nothing that you’re ever going to do that’s going to make him feel like he legitimately lost the election,” she explained. “He’s got a big bully pulpit. He should be responsible with it.”
Haley also warned that many people still love the former president and will not stop supporting him just because he is out of office.
“I know how much people love Donald Trump,” she admitted. “I know it. I feel it. Whether it’s an RNC room or social media or talking to donors, I can tell you that the love they have for him is still very strong. That’s not going to just fall to the wayside. Nor do I think the Republican Party is going to go back to the way it was before Donald Trump. I don’t think it should.”
Haley added that people, instead, should “take the good that he built, leave the bad that he did, and get back to a place where we can be a good, valuable, effective party.”
“[I]t’s bigger than the party,” she insisted. “I hope our country can come together and figure out how we pull this back.”
Referring to Haley’s possible 2024 ambitions, Politico’s Tim Alberta wrote, “Since last fall, I’ve spent nearly six hours talking with Haley on-the-record. I’ve also spoken with nearly 70 people who know her: friends, associates, donors, staffers, former colleagues. From those conversations, two things are clear. First, Nikki Haley is going to run for president in 2024. Second, she doesn’t know which Nikki Haley will be on the ballot.”
Haley also said that she didn’t believe Trump had a chance of winning in a 2024 election scenario.
“I don’t think he can,” she admitted. “He’s fallen so far.”
“I think his business is suffering at this point,” she added. “I think he’s lost any sort of political viability he was going to have. I think he’s lost his social media, which meant the world to him. I mean, I think he’s lost the things that really could have kept him moving.”
WATCH: Trump’s Defense Team Absolutely Ruins Democrats With 13 Minute Montage of “Fight” Word Like Trump Did
The Democrats demonized President Trump for using the word ‘fight’. Trump’s attorneys responded today with a collage of clips from each of the Democrats in the room using the word ‘fight’.
This portion of today’s events on Capitol Hill was excellent. The Democrats claim that because President Trump used the word ‘fight’ in his speech on January 6th in Washington D.C. However, what every Democrat in that room forgot was that they too had used the word previously in political speech.
The montage went on for 13 minutes. (The video montage starts at 7:10 timeframe.)
WATCH: Trump Attorneys Destroy House Managers on Lying to American Public and Using Manipulated Tweet as Evidence
President Trump’s defense team took the floor of the US Senate on Friday in defense of President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial.
Trump Attorney David Schoen absolutely destroyed the House Managers when he took to the floor of the US Senate.
At one point Schoen played video of the Democrat lawmakers lying about a Trump tweet.
House Impeachment Manager Eric Swalwell gave a riveting performance on Wednesday reading off Trump’s tweets with emotional appeal.
During this theatrical performance, Swalwell read off a Trump retweet by Jennifer Lynn Lawrence.
But there was one problem with the tweet. It was photoshopped.
Jennifer Lynn Lawrence has never been verified by Twitter. Democrats faked that to make it look more important.
On Friday Trump Attorney David Schoen destroyed Democrats for lying about this to the American public.
White House Suspends Deputy Press Secretary For Allegedly Sexually Harassing, Threatening Reporter
The White House announced on Friday that it was suspending Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo after a report surfaced alleging that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter who was getting ready to publish a report revealing that he was dating a reporter who had previously been tasked with covering Democrat Joe Biden.
“The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after [Politico reporter Tara] Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted [Axios political reporter Alexi] McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported. “Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. ‘I will destroy you,’ Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.”
“During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to f***’ McCammond ‘and not you,’” the report added. “Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being ‘jealous’ of his relationship with McCammond.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the report that Ducklo has been suspended for a week over the incident.
“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.”
TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 12, 2021
“In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret,” she continued. “With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”
With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 12, 2021
Reporters called out the administration over the incident, highlighting how the Trump administration did not treat reporters that way as well as issues with the timeline of events with regard to the White House taking action to address the incident.
“The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate,” Spectator editor Amber Athey wrote on Twitter. “But they clearly didn’t have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public.”
The Vanity Fair piece indicates that Politico editors reached to the WH after the incident first occurred and the WH acknowledged it was inappropriate. But they clearly didn't have any interest in disciplining Ducklo until his behavior was made public @PressSec pic.twitter.com/T3mTLPcdid
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) February 12, 2021
New York Magazine reporter Olivia Nuzzi wrote on Twitter: “I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.”
I covered Donald Trump for 6 years. It is saying something that this behavior — from a Biden official — shocks me.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 12, 2021
Grabien founder Tom Elliott highlighted the following remarks that Biden made a few weeks ago: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity.”
Biden 3 weeks ago: "If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity." pic.twitter.com/0QDHnyU3Jo
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 12, 2021
CNN anchor Jake Tapper responded to the quote, writing: “Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies.”
Standards that are not upheld are not standards. They’re lies. https://t.co/7b1InypvBT
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 12, 2021