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Broward School Board Takes a Licking from Dead Students' Families

August 10, 2018 - 6:00am
Families of slain students' press conference
Families of slain students' press conference

Family members whose loved ones were killed during a massacre at a Parkland high school in February slammed the Broward County School board for failing to make schools safe, just one week before classes begin.

The group, which held a press conference at an arena where the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission was meeting Thursday, also called for the school board to be voted out of office, blasting them for a lack of leadership.

“We have focused on issues, but the school board has not provided answers,” said Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina, was among the 14 students killed in the Valentine’s Day mass shooting. Three faculty members also died after Nikolas Cruz, who confessed to the killings, allegedly opened fire at his former school. Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of murder.

“So today we would like to make the citizens of Broward County aware that the current school board has failed to properly prepare the county’s 234 schools for the upcoming school year,” said Montalto, president of “Stand with Parkland,” a nonprofit organization launched by parents of Parkland victims in response to the mass shooting.

Montalto urged “everyone concerned with the safety of this county’s schools” to take action at the polls.

“Vote for new school board representation that would be more concerned about the safety of students and teachers in all of Broward County,” he said.

Two parents of 14-year-old girls who were killed in the Valentine’s Day massacre are running for school board.

Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter Alyssa was among the 17 victims, and Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina also died, are running “in order to continue their fight for improved school safety, increased transparency and increased accountability in Broward Schools in order to ensure a quality education,” they said in a press release announcing their candidacy in May.

During a Broward County School Board meeting earlier Thursday morning, board member Donna Korn called the 2017-18 academic year “one of the best” for the county.

But Korn’s comments elicited outrage from April Schentrup, whose 16-year-old daughter, Carmen, was among the slain Parkland students.

“Being an employee of the school district, and a mother who has endured such tragedy, it was difficult to hear those words,” Schentrup said. “Because I know we are not the only ones in Broward County who struggled. We know that it wasn’t an amazing year. We know that it wasn’t the best year for Broward schools.”

Schentrup said the county needs school board members who are “compassionate, who understand and who lead.”

Other parents vented frustrations with the school board’s “lack of leadership” and failure to reach consensus about school security issues.

Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex also died, created a task force to screen companies that want to donate and sell safety-related products to the school system.

Schachter, who serves on the public safety commission created by the state Legislature earlier this year, said that over $2 million worth of products were donated, but the school district turned him away.

“There is no accountability,” he said. “There’s no leadership and we don’t want this (school shooting) to happen to other schools. We don’t want this to happen to any other children.”

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was also a victim, accused school district Superintendent Robert Runcie of reversing himself on major decisions related to the investigation of the Feb. 14 event as well as other school-safety issues.

“He flip-flopped on the internal report to look into the administration on what went wrong,” said Pollack. “I’m all in on this from the beginning and I say this in front of all my family and friends --- accountability. My daughter was murdered.”

The parents of the victims shared their concerns with reporters during a break in Thursday’s meeting of the public safety commission at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. The commission has been tasked with investigating the Parkland shooting --- the second-worst school shooting in the nation’s history --- and making recommendations to prevent future tragedies.

“What happened Feb. 14th, changes everything,” Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter Jaime was among the victims, told reporters after the press conference. “And sometimes leadership rises to an occasion and sometimes it doesn’t. It didn’t here.”


Now the formerly secret report is revealed to the Sun Sentinel that Cruz was referred to the Promise program. Better to sweep the crime under the rug and smile to the citizens that “all is well” with our county, look at the dropping crime statistics. Until something blows the truth right out into the headlines.

Really, does anyone know of an especially effective school board ANYwhere in this state ???

Leave it to the f*%k stick wing nuts to politicize this. Just as many mistakes made by the Republican FBI and DCF. This is a bi-partisn failure. Leave it to Spanky's Fascists to politicize the tragedy...

Keep voting for the leftists Dems, you get what you vote for. They could care less about the kids as long as their perverted ideological agenda is advanced. Broward's kids have been sacrificed on the altar of Democratic Political Correctness. Barry's 'PROMISE' program adopted wholeheartedly by the Broward school board and Broward Sheriff is the root cause of the shooting. No accountability for uncivilized behavior, trophies for everyone. That is the Democrat communist way.

You're correct. Every school shooting, as well as non-school shootings, has been committed by a known mental deviant, under some form of psychological treatment. KNOWN YRARS BEFORE THEY SHOT ANYONE. But protect the mental patients' rights over others' rights to live, and see that this will continue.

What has the School Board done proactively since Feb 14th to better protect our students? The most obvious and effective way to ensuring all weapons (pistols, knives, machete, tire irons etc) never make it on campus is metal detectors. Yet the inert Board is unable to move this solution forward deeming it needs further review. That's not leadership nor putting the safety and welfare of our kids first. It's called malfeasance and should not be tolerated.

Like 'Ole Claude already told ya: The leftists including your school board are interested in milking your dead kids for all the political gains they can make to destroy the 2nd admendment. Will leftist officals get around to the safety of the kids that were not killed? I will leave that for you to answer. Hey now y'all elected the leftist you felt kind of proud for voting that way back then too. WAKE UP and vote Republican straight down the ballot.

Keep passing out assault rifles like peppermints. That should fix everything.

Other types of rifles and shotguns are more deadly than the AR-15. If you knew anything about guns you would know this. Also, if you knew anything about the research on the mental disorders of those shooters, known by officials way before they ever targeted students, you would have a decent comment to post. School officials and other government officials are using HIPAA regulations to protect these nuts. They need to stop making these nutcases a priority over the lives of innocent people.

Assault weapons were banned in this country in the 1930s. There is no such thing as an assault weapon sold in the U.S. today. If liberals can't get that correct and keep the lie alive it's reasonable to conclude all their statements are suspect and probably rely on half truths and lies.

You nailed it!

You nailed it!

assault and automatic are 2 different things. Get your facts staright before you comment about something you no nothing about...

Just tell us something: Can an assault weapon be an automatic weapon? Can an automatic weapon be an assault weapon?

Just tell us something: Can an assault weapon be an automatic weapon? Can an automatic weapon be an assault weapon?

It's laughable that you would say something like that especially stating that you're a vet. Southern assault weapon cannot be an automatic weapon? You're being a goofball. The general public cannot have actual assault weapons. Stop the stupid rhetoric.

the only thing laughable is you mama's boy...

Limp wristed civilians...sheesh

I know right, by definition, assault weapons only have to accept a detachable magazine (usually high capacity). Usually a pistol grip and collapsing stock as well. If not, it is an assault rifle. One of the first things taught in the military. Good job Angry Vet...

Can this headline be any more offensive and heartless! Disgusting .... Broward School Board Takes a Licking from Dead Students' Families

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