Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Florida district reassigns 4 in connection with Parkland high school shooting deaths

Nov. 28, 2018
3 assistant principals and a security specialist at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been reassigned after commission raised questions about how the school dealt with the shooter.

The Broward County (Fla.) district has reassigned three administrators and a security specialist in connection with last year's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the staff members are Assistant Principal Jeff Morford, Assistant Principal Winfred Porter Jr., Assistant Principal Denise Reed, and Security Specialist Kelvin Greenleaf.

The moves come after Superintendent Robert Runcie recently told a state commission investigating the Feb. 14 shooting that he soon would take disciplinary action against some school employees.

The commission has raised questions about whether some staff members took the proper steps to deal with former student Nikolas Cruz before he returned to the campus and killed 17 people, as well as how they responded during the massacre. 

The Sentinel reported earlier this month that despite many governmental failures leading to the massacre, just a few low-level employees have faced consequences. 

The school district refused to say where the Stoneman Douglas administrators will be assigned and whether the moves are permanent.

Lisa Maxwell, who represents the three administrators through the Broward Principals and Assistants Association, says they are being temporarily reassigned to district offices while an investigation is conducted. She says she doesn't know who is doing the investigation and contends the district is violating its employee discipline policy by not telling them why they are being investigated.

The Stoneman Douglas Commission cited a number of failures by the school or district. Bathroom doors were locked because of drug problems, and that prevented some students from being able to find a hiding place. The school hadn’t enacted “hard corners,” or classroom corners where students could hide during a shooting. The school’s “Code Red,” or active shooter procedures, also failed, the commission found.

A student told commission investigators that he went with another student to Morford to report Cruz’s odd behavior, including researching guns on a school computer and remarking that he liked to “see people in pain.” According to the student, Morford told him he should Google the word “autism” and promised that he wouldn’t have to worry about Cruz because he was being withdrawn from the school. Morford denied the student’s account.

Porter, who was named the district’s assistant principal of the year a few days before the shooting, oversaw some of the school's security measures. He brought a consultant into review security at the school in December 2017, but the measures didn’t get put into place before the shooting.

Reed is the assistant principal who oversees services for special needs students, another area where the district has been criticized. An independent report found the district mishandled Cruz’s education on at least two occasions, resulting in his getting no school counseling or services in the 14 months leading up to the shooting.

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