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Broward County urged to close charter schools that don't have armed guards

Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission express frustration that 29 charter schools in Broward County have not complied with school safety requirements.

The commission created to investigate the events surrounding last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is pressuring Broward County (Fla.) Superintendent Robert Runcie to close charter schools that still do not have an armed guard on campus.

The Miami Herald reports that the members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission expressed frustration after learning that 29 charter schools, a third of the charter schools in the Broward County district, did not have trained armed guardians in place or long-term agreements with local law enforcement to provide officers.

Runcie says the school board is moving to close one non-compliant charter school next week. All public schools, including charter schools, are required to have a trained armed guard or a sworn law enforcement officer on campus. 

“There’s actually very little a school board can do to impact the compliance of charter schools with statutes and best practices,” Runcie says. “The only lever we have to pull is shut them down.”

He would not identify the school, citing safety concerns.

Commission member Grady Judd subsequently identified the school as Championship Academy Elementary & Middle School in Davie Judd said the campus now has police protection after a state official visited the school of 580 students and made arrangements.

Charter schools, which have their own sovereign school boards, bear the responsibility of being in compliance with the law. If a charter school chooses not to pay for a law enforcement officer out of pocket, its only other option is to hire a guardian and enroll them in a guardian training program with a sheriff’s office.

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