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Dade sheriffs office reported rise in petty crimes by minors

By February 28, 2018 - 6: We know the Broward Sheriff's Department made mistakes.

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What is yet to emerge is the role the Broward County school system played in the Valentine's Day shooting death of 14 students and three teachers at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. As progressives continue the push for more gun control, a Broward County disciplinary program they long have favored is now getting more scrutiny.

These types of programs were also championed by the Obama administrationwhich encouraged efforts to reduce the "school-to-prison pipeline," particularly for minority students.

Many in the community have asked how many of suspected shooter Nikolas Cruz's offenses while at Stoneman Douglas rose to the level of felonies and why they didn't end with him in handcuffs? Back in 2013, Broward County Superintendent Robert Runcie was looking for a way to lower the student arrest rate.

Does Broward Schools' Program Coddle Troubled Students and Excuse Dangerous Behavior?

According to District data1,062 Broward County students were arrested in the 2011-2012 school year, the highest number in the state of Florida. Seventy-one percent of those arrests were for misdemeanor offenses. Rather than involve law enforcement, minor infractions would instead be handled within the school system, driving down the arrest rate -- making for a less "troubled" school system.

A document filed in 2016 lays out exactly how this would work. Some examples are disorderly conduct, gambling and marijuana possession. Others listed include harassment and threats, of which Cruz has been accused.

  • Cruz, however, may be proof one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel;
  • The united states attorney is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its ob.

That could result in school-mandated punishment, a meeting with parents, or a simple warning. This can happen up to four times per school year before a student is referred to law enforcement. By some measures, the program was a success. The arrest rate did drop, and district data showed 90 percent of students did not repeat their bad behavior after going through the PROMISE program. Cruz, however, may be proof one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel. He showed a behavior pattern that could have been cause for arrest long before Feb.

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  3. These could have resulted in felony charges under federal law.
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Reports of fighting and and assault are vague and may have only qualified as misdemeanors. But according to BuzzfeedCruz was also accused of cyberstalking and sending threatening messages online and in person while he was a student at Stoneman Douglas.

Dade sheriffs office reported rise in petty crimes by minors

These could have resulted in felony charges under federal law. But even in those situations, the program does not mandate a student be arrested. Instead, an officer may consider placing the student under arrest.

That is, the officer may also decide not to put the student under arrest, even in the event of a felony.

Here is a major failing of the system: Had Cruz been adjudicated even in juvenile court for a felony, he would have been prohibited from owning a firearm until he was 24 years of age. Even a misdemeanor hearing could have resulted in a court mandating mental health counseling, which could also force Cruz to give up his weapons.

Dade sheriffs office reported rise in petty crimes by minors

And obviously, if he was sitting in a prison cell, he would have been prevented from carrying out the deadly shooting at his former high school. Stoneman Douglas did ask for a threat assessment after the alleged assault, and Cruz was eventually moved to another school. The problem is, when that program started, we took all discretion away from law enforcement officers to effect an arrest if we choose to.

He repeated those concerns, saying officers should have more authority to decide whether to arrest a student, rather than allowing schools the final say. Defenders of the program likely will say one possible mistake does not invalidate the entire thinking behind the program.