Broward judge rules school district wasn’t obligated to issue warning over Parkland school shooter

Parkland parents not happy with ruling by Broward County judge
Parkland parents not happy with ruling by Broward County judge

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A judge ruled Monday that the Broward School District had no duty to warn parents or faculty about school shooter Nikolas Cruz.

According to the order, signed by Judge Patti Englander Henning, the district can’t be liable for failing to predict what Cruz could have done in the future.

“The District had no control over Cruz. They did not have custody over him. He was not a student in the system and had not been for over a year,” the order reads.

According to the ruling, the School Board acknowledged that it had a duty to provide adequate security and reasonable protection to students and faculty.

“It further agrees that sufficient allegations have been raised in the complaints requiring an answer as to premises liability, negligent training and negligent security,” the document states.

However, the School Board sought to dismiss accusations “that the District had a duty to warn the Plaintiffs about future harm from Cruz.”

The judge’s order referenced the fact that the Fourth District Court of Appeal recently upheld the court’s determination in the Pollack v. Cruz case that Henderson Clinic, where Cruz was sometimes treated for mental illness, did not have a legal duty “to warn the victims about Cruz’s dangerous propensities.”

It stated that was because “Florida law does not recognize a duty of mental health providers to warn third parties that a patient may be dangerous because of the inherent unpredictability associated with mental illnesses and the near impossibility of accurately or reliably predicting dangerousness.”

The ruling also states that the “Court understands and sympathizes with the community as we still three years after the horrific tragedy, attempt to make sense of it. The Plaintiffs search for identifiable sources to blame beyond the shooter himself. There are certainly issues remaining for which the School Board may be held liable.”

“We’re horrified,” said Royer Borges, one of the plaintiffs in the case. His son, Anthony, was badly wounded in the February 2018 shooting.

“Now to just say that it’s OK to put a killer next to my son, and they didn’t have to tell me, that’s really really scary,” he said.

The Borges family is one of several plaintiffs in the case.

Attorney David Brill represents other plaintiffs, including Andrew Pollack, the Hoyer and Petty families, as well as the family of injured student Maddy Wilford.

“We’ve never alleged that somehow the school district has to have a little crystal ball,” Brill said, “We’re talking about a duty to warn for the potential for harm.”

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