Blood On Their Hands: Did Broward County's Greed Lead To Secet Pact That Sold Out Student Safety?
NEW POLICY CREATED HIGH SCHOOL MASSACRE
Since a mentally ill former student shot down 31 students and teachers in Florida, each day brings another revelation more disgusting than the previous one. Now, the public learns that an agreement was struck between the Broward County Sheriff and the Broward County School District in 2009 to terminate the previous policy which kept the students' safe, in the hopes they would get more taxpayer dollars.
Wanting to improve their criminal stats in order to con more money out of the State of Florida and the US Department of Education, the school district decided to ignore criminal activity by students on campus, and not call law enforcement. They wanted the stats to show that there was less juvenile crime, which would net them more money. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it worked.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY FIRST CAME UP WITH THE SCAM FIRST
The scam began about nine years ago in Miami-Dade County (just south of Broward), where the school district was struggling to succeed. Miami-Dade noticed that "students of color" were being arrested at a higher rate than "white" students. They realized that if they could cook the crime stats, rather than actually cutting down on criminal behavior among their students, they would look better to the people who hand out taxpayer dollars.
The motive was simple. The Broward County School District administrators knew they would get more state and federal grant money if their criminal stats improved. This was not an arbitrary change. It was a well-planned significant change in how teenagers would be treated when they broke the law on campus.
With greed in mind, the school district entered into an arrangement with local police that would ensure the police would stop arresting so many of their students. Within a year or two, surrounding communities began to notice the change in Miami-Dade's fortunes, which included a new influx of money, so Broward County decided it was time they entered into a similar scam with their local police force.
BROWARD COUNTY WANTED IN ON THIS MONEY SCAM
The new policies made public school students above the law because it allowed students to act as they wished, without fear of any consequences. In the beginning, police were merely ignoring misdemeanors, but soon they were also ignoring felonies, including violent crimes like assault, armed robberies and rape.
Once this new system seemed to be working and criminal stats started improving, the district needed the police to continue lowering arrests year-over-year, which meant that the police were being forced to excuse ever more severe criminal acts. Over time, even the most severe of unlawful conduct was being filtered out of the system by responding police.
To make matters worse, South Florida's gangs quickly caught on to this scheme and began using high school students to commit more of their crimes. They also started planning their biggest crimes later in the month, later in the quarter, and at times when schools were collecting their data for reporting. In this way, the gangs could take advantage of committing their crimes at the time when the police would be most likely to give their high school aged members a pass.
By the time the high school shooter enrolled in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this "catch & release" policy had been in place for some time and student safety was no longer a priority for this greedy superintendent and sheriff.
SRO SCOT PETERSON HAD ORDERS TO IGNORE CRIME ON CAMPUS
To ensure success of this scam, it became vital that the School Resource Officers (SROs) placed at the schools followed this game plan. This scheme needed SROs who made sure that the criminal activities of their students would not be reported as crimes and endanger the district's political and financial fortunes.
Transferred in at the beginning of this scam, the high school's SRO, Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson, was quite good at hiding criminal activity by students, especially students "of color." This may account for why Peterson did not share information about Cruz with social services in 2016 when he was bringing knives to school and threatening others.
The sheriff and the superintendent were so pleased with Peterson's non-police work that they made him School Resource Officer of the year in 2017.
These problems with the SROs in South Florida resulted in other investigations that uncovered questionable behavior, but the lure of money was too great. Broward county authorities just couldn't & wouldn't end this lucrative, greedy practice.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL PRAISES STUDENT RESOURCE OFFICER SCOT PETERSON
Falling all over himself to praise Peterson, Israel gave him a commendation in 2015 and made him "SRO of the year" in 2017 because Peterson was doing exactly as ordered. Isn't it interesting how quickly Sheriff Israel threw Peterson under the bus when the public learned that Peterson waited outside for at least four minutes while student and teachers were being slaughtered inside?
Peterson should not have been fired. He should have received another medal for carrying out the orders he was given, for placing student safety dead last.