Exclusive: Broward County’s $100 million failure on school safety 

Exclusive: Broward County’s $100 million failure on school safety 
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Marjory Stoneman Douglas is a symptom of a much larger problem.

If student activists think the various marches and the drive-through political calls for gun control are the solution, then I suggest that the student activists also engage with student journalist Kenneth Preston. Rather than carry the torch for an agenda, he has delved into the issues prior to and still existing after that horrible day. 

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In an exclusive interview I spoke with Kenneth Preston and with Andy Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, who was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. 

 

This is a direct transcription. 

This linked document is a detailed read of Kenneth Preston’s Investigation. 

[00:02:24] KENNETH: … So for the last month or so I've been conducting an investigation into the conduct of the school board the superintendent and district officials prior to the tragedy at Stoneman. The findings of our investigation is two-fold. First off, a $100 million which superintendent and the school board had access to. Since 2014, roughly 5 percent of that money has been spent. The second part of our investigation focused on discipline reform. We currently have a school discipline matrix and programs like The Promise Program and the Behavior Intervention Program which allow violence to be in traditional school settings. So law enforcement officials and referrals to police is not required for violent crimes like, all four levels of assault, sexual battery, attempted robbery, so on and so forth. [00:03:22][57.2]

[00:03:25] DAVID: Let’s go a little bit wider into your investigation and that you've developed a significant document as you have tracked the money, the issues, the people involved and the players in Broward County. Taking the money and from that period forward, you said less than 5 percent has been used. What has happened to the rest of the money? Do you have any idea? [00:03:50][25.2]

[00:03:52] KENNETH: Well that's a good question. In fact I sat down with the superintendent yesterday and he gave me a long-winded runaround. But essentially when part of a report came up a couple of weeks ago the superintendent was quick to go on Twitter and disregard it. He said that the news was fake but in the end he says if you're interested in real news contact Florida Tax watch or the Bond Oversight Committee. And I did. And they confirmed our numbers. They've criticized the superintendent and the board for the delays and have criticized them for not being more transparent with the public for the reasons, for those delays. So why that money has been spent? All I know for certain is that it has not been the number one priority that they originally intended for it to be. [00:04:37][45.2]

[00:07:24] DAVID: Well look let's put some of the numbers together for the audience here and then we'll go back to those individuals both you and Kenneth can respond accordingly. Andy Pollack with me and Kenneth Preston Andy Pollack the father of Meadow who was tragically killed that day in Parkland. Superintendent Runcie in 2014, Kenneth according to your investigation, convinced Broward residents to vote on $800 million in bonds for Broward Public Schools to invest back into the schools. Of that.... 800 million, I'm sorry, $800 million dollars, as part of the program $104,325,821 million dollars was designated specifically for school safety and as you mentioned before roughly $5.5 million dollars has been spent. [00:08:21][57.2]

[00:09:47] DAVID: All right. Kenneth if you could just pause for a second I want to continue on that. Andy Pollak … You mentioned the (fire alarm) system overrode the other system. [00:09:55][8.0]

[00:09:57] ANDY: Yes. [00:09:57][0.2]

[00:09:57] DAVID: Has anyone asked the question to your knowledge as one of the parents or anyone from the school officials side talked about the system or how it was tested how it was put in place so that it would be effective? [00:10:09][12.0]

[00:10:11] ANDY: No I haven't heard anything. I've spoke, I've met with teachers on my own and parents, and I told them all to look into it because I know that the teachers couldn't hear them calling the code red on the third floor because of the fire alarm going off. So whoever they hired--I'm going to find out Dave. Who, who, who orchestrated this whole incompetent system? [00:10:36][24.6]

[00:10:38] ANDY: But that's one of the reasons why on the third floor my daughter got let out of the classroom by a teacher with the gunshots going off. 90 rounds go off on the first floor. I spoke with some of the teachers on the third floor. They kept their students in, by the teacher. My daughter's teacher let her out into the hallway with the fire alarm going off but she couldn't hear anyone calling The Code Red anyway because that superseded the intercom system. [00:11:05][27.1]

[00:20:30] DAVID: All right Andy there are a lot of questions here as to what happened in the district actions by the board members. Have any board members addressed any of these issues with you or other parents? Do you know to the best of your ability or in any way? [00:20:47][16.6]

[00:20:50] ANDY: They put together a commission that's going to be called the Marjory Stoneman Douglas safety commission. I'm one of the members on the commission and our first meeting is going to be April 24. I was appointed by the governor. So we're going to be this commission solely to see (inaudible) look at all the failures that happened in Parkland, all of that, all the failures, and then look at preventive measures for all the schools in the state. So whatever Kenny doesn't unfold in the next couple of days, I'm going to look through everything with Florida Department of Law Enforcement. [00:21:31][40.8]

[00:21:33] ANDY: So this is just the tip of the iceberg in the investigation. What he's doing, we're putting it out. There's, there's a team put together to investigate this whole crime like sort of like the 9/11 Commission Dave. [00:21:45][12.1]

As I write this, Kenneth Preston informs me that the Broward County school board had cut his speaking time in half and removed seven speakers from Tuesday’s school board meeting. Why would such interested officials not be interested in hearing from the people in the district they have been elected to serve?

Suppressing these voices will not to make the story go away and certainly ignoring  the many issues outlined and address the money voted for that is not been applied. 

In short, if Broward County school officials and their elected government choose to bury these issues and the facts presented they will continue to fail the people they are there to serve. Hopefully this does not result in more loss of life and tragedy in any form like what happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

A reminder that the source documents in this investigation are available online at The Hill.com

Webb is host of “The David Webb Show” on SiriusXM Patriot 125, a Fox News contributor and a frequent television commentator. His column appears twice a month in The Hill.

The transcript has been corrected from a previous version.