- The superintendent and general counsel of Broward County Public Schools in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were arrested Wednesday in relation to a grand jury investigation into how the school district handles safety initiatives, according to news reports.
- The separate three-page indictments filed with the Supreme Court of Florida on April 15 show Superintendent Robert Runcie as indicted on one count of perjury in an official proceeding and District General Counsel Barbara Myrick indicted on one count of unlawful disclosure of statewide grand jury proceedings.
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the location of a 2018 school shooting that killed 17 people, is located in Broward County. In the aftermath of the shooting, local, state and federal initiatives were created to help prevent violence at schools, and school leaders nationwide are reviewing practices as more students attend in-person after months of virtual learning.
The indictments do not describe details of the alleged perjury and disclosure. Runcie's indictment, however, said the superintendent had testified under oath to the grand jury, which was investigating failures to follow mandates of school-related safety laws, including the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act. The grand jury, which typically conducts proceedings in secret, also was looking into whether public entities committed fraud and deceit by accepting state funds conditioned on implementing certain safety measures but failed to act.
The grand jury was impaneled in 2019 and directed to conduct a 12-month investigation. The coronavirus disrupted its work, and the jury was given a new deadline of April 17 of this year, according to News 4 Jax in Jacksonville, Florida. In the grand jury's first interim report, it said it had found noncompliance in numerous Florida school districts, according to a document posted by the Florida School Boards Association.
Broward County School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood said in an emailed statement from the district that the board "will provide transparency, accountability and integrity as we continue to focus on delivering the highest quality educational experience for our students, teachers and staff. As legal processes continue, Broward County Public Schools will operate as normal under the District's leadership team."
After the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Florida Legislature passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act as a way to reform school safety efforts. Also in 2018, a Federal Commission on School Safety made recommendations for creating positive school climates; preventing and addressing bullying incidents; supporting mental health awareness; developing a violence prevention plan; and more.
According to the K-12 School Shooting Database from the Center for Homeland Defense and Security, there have been 39 non-active shooter incidents at schools so far this year and two active shooter incidents.