Broward County school board lets Ben Gamla school keep its charter

School tried to fill open slot with trained guardian from another campus

By Saira Anwer - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The Broward County school board decided Tuesday night to allow the Ben Gamla Charter School South in Plantation to continue with business as usual. The school was at risk of losing its charter for not having an approved guardian on campus. 

Last week, the state's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission reported Broward County 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.

Ben Gamla Charter School South Broward in Plantation was the second charter school under scrutiny in Broward County over an alleged lack of compliance with the law. The school board took over the Championship Academy of Distinction, a charter school in Davie.

During an emergency board meeting Tuesday, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said Ben Gamla's failure to comply with the law was causing "an immediate and serious danger to the health, safety and welfare of its students."

Peter Deutch disagreed 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 is also waiting for the school board to approve a guardian contract for September.

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

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

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