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2nd Broward charter school faces scrutiny over armed guard on campus

Ben Gamla Charter School South Broward in Plantation

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public School Superintendent Robert Runcie was considering revoking the charter of a second charter school in Broward County over an alleged lack of compliance with state law on school security.  

The school board took over the Championship Academy of Distinction, a charter school in Davie, after the state's Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission reported Broward was the only school district in the state that was not in compliance with Florida Statute 1006.12, which requires schools to have at least one armed and trained guardian on campus.

Now the board is focusing on Ben Gamla Charter School South Broward in Plantation. During an emergency board meeting on Tuesday, Rucie said the school's failure to comply with the law is causing "an immediate and serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of its students."

Peter Deutch disagrees with Runcie. He is the founder of the Hebrew language school, which serves about 350 students from kindergarten through eighth grade. 

Deutch said the school has a contract with the Plantation Police Department through August and has a guardian contract for September that the school board must approve. 

"The Plantation Police Department is supposed to notify us when a police officer is not going to be there, yesterday they did not notify us," Deutch said. 

Ben Gamla administrators' attempted to fill the open slot with a trained guardian from another campus, Deutch said. 

Erika Seese is among the parents of students from Ben Gamla Charter School South Broward in Plantation who said they are outraged by the idea of the school closing or changing management. 

"I just feel like my son is safe at this school," Seese said. "This is ridiculous. My son is really upset."

Some of the parents attended the emergency school board meeting. If the school board decides to revoke the school's charter, the charter school owners have 10 days to appeal the decision. 


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