Broward County Public Schools superintendent responds to backlash regarding PROMISE program

Stoneman Douglas gunman Nikolas Cruz enrolled in program, never completed it

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie is facing growing backlash after it was revealed that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School gunman Nikolas Cruz was referred to a program aimed at keeping troubled students out of jail.

"The better we take care of our youth, the better will be our community and society," Runcie said.

Runcie spoke Tuesday about the necessary changes he said need to be made to PROMISE, a behavioral program in the district

"I think we need to do school board workshops; discipline practices," Runcie said.

The program was created to essentially rehabilitate troubled students instead of taking them to jail.  

At the forefront of a discussion Monday night was Cruz's participation in the program.  

For months, school officials said Cruz had no ties to PROMISE, but then they said he was enrolled but never completed it.

"There is a lack of communication in Broward County, and it is putting all of our kids at risk," Ryan Petty said.

Petty's daughter, Alaina, was one of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14. Like many, he is concerned that similar programs may lead to weak discipline -- an issue Runcie said needs to be addressed.

"All discipline incidents must be reported, and appropriate interventions and support must be provided to the victims and offenders," Runcie said.

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