DeSantis calls for audit of PROMISE program

Parkland school shooter had been part of discipline diversion program

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Gov. Ron DeSantis has issued an executive order mandating a statewide audit of all school-based discipline diversion programs like the one Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz had been a part of while he was in the Broward County school system. 

Wednesday afternoon's announcement in Fort Lauderdale comes on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The executive order specifically mentions the PROMISE program -- an acronym for Preventing Recidivism Through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support & Education.

Cruz, who had a troubled past with Broward County Public Schools, had been a part of the PROMISE program.

DeSantis has been critical of Superintendent Robert Runcie for how the school district handled Cruz. The governor's executive order cites the recommendations of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission as a reason for challenging the PROMISE program and others like it.

"The audit should determine their requirements for eligibility and operations, their stated impact on school and public safety, their costs, and whether there is evidence to support their continuation, closure or regulation in law," DeSantis wrote.

Runcie said in a statement after the announcement that he welcomes the audit.

"I agree with Governor DeSantis for wanting to know how all school districts in Florida manage money and security issues that impact school safety," he said. "Broward County Public Schools welcomes any review or investigation that could result in improved safety and security in our own district and school districts across the state. What we learn individually and from each other will make us all better and will benefit our students and teachers."

DeSantis also sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement directing the state agency to prioritize the establishment of a threat analysis strategy to ensure that every government entity coordinates and cooperates in identifying and stopping individuals from committing violent acts.

The governor said he also filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court for a statewide grand jury investigation into the Parkland school shooting and how other school districts have designated money for security.

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