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tythompson Broward County Schools
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson

Principal at Parkland, Fla., high school removed from day-to-day operations

The Broward County district has given new duties to principal Ty Thompson as it continues to look into the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre at the school that left17 dead.

The principal of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., is under investigation and has been removed from day-to-day operations.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the change in job status for Ty Thompson, is the latest of several administrative shakeups since a former student killed 17 people at the school on Feb. 14, 2018.

Stoneman Douglas added a second principal last spring and in November, Broward district officials transferred three assistant principals.

Thompson, who has led the school since 2013, will oversee recovery efforts at Stoneman Douglas as well as construction plans for a new building to replace the one where the shootings occurred. Former West Broward Principal Teresa Hall will take over as day-to-day administrator at Stoneman Douglas.

The Broward County district also is bringing back the school's former principal, Dan Traeger, to provide “additional oversight and support,” district spokeswoman Kathy Koch says. Traeger led the school from 2001 until 2008.

Thompson is the fifth administrator at the school to be investigated for actions related to the massacre. In November, Superintendent Robert Runcie transferred assistant principals Denise Reed, Winfred Porter and Jeff Morford and security specialist Kelvin Greenleaf to jobs outside the school, pending an investigation into their roles.

The district hired a law firm to conduct the review, which is expected to be finished by the end of the school year.

Runcie said in December that he had removed the assistant principals from the school so that teachers could speak freely to investigators without fear of retribution from their supervisors.

But district administrators decided that keeping Thompson at the school “to be in the best interest of the students and teachers,” Koch says. “Since the tragedy, Thompson has provided stability to the school and community, and has been considered by many to be instrumental in helping with healing and recovery.”

The district hasn’t listed any specific allegations regarding any of the administrators, only that the investigation is based on findings from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which reviewed what went wrong during the tragedy. Among the commission’s findings: School gates and doors weren't properly secured; security officials received little to no training; emergency procedures weren't followed; previous crimes hadn’t been properly reported; and many warning signs were missed.

Thompson was not at school at the time of the shooting, but the commission still admonished him, saying he appeared uninformed about threats and other student safety matters.

Lisa Maxwell, who represents Thompson through the Broward Principals and Assistants’ Association, says the principal was surprised by the investigation. She said Runcie met with Thompson in December and said he wouldn't be removed from the school.

The administrator group has filed a lawsuit against the district claiming the assistant principals are being unfairly investigated and will do the same for Thompson, Maxwell says.

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