By Kimberly Scanlan, Staff Writer
Robert Runcie has done absolutely nothing for the students, staff and school of Broward County. School ratings have gone down, there has been no improvement with regards to the mental health of students, and most importantly, school safety is still almost nonexistent.
Tuesday, March 5th, the school board voted on ousting the failed superintendent. He was put into office seven years ago, when times were much better for the Broward schools community. Lori Alhadeff, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, called for the removal of Runcie due to willful neglect of duty. She is absolutely correct. Runcie isn’t fit for the job, and he knows it.
Two years after his hiring, Runcie enacted the PROMISE program, which attempted close the racial achievement gap in Broward. Instead of actually punishing kids for their actions, the kids receive counseling and go back to school. This clearly did not work. While in middle school, the parkland shooter was placed into this program for a misdemeanor. This would have began his criminal record, making it harder for him to get a gun. Runcie’s program was never meant to work, it was made to make him look good. Just like punishment does not work for all kids, counseling is not a save all. When confronted about this he denied the connection. He later retracted this statement.
Speaking of counseling, Runcie has neglected the mental health needs of students across the county. He instead decided it was more important to bail criminals out of trouble. Runcie has improved nothing, students still get the same amount of support from the school system as they did 7 years ago. On top of this, school ratings have gone down. The county rating has gone from an A eight years ago to a B- today. Anyone who decreases the quality of a school should be immediately thrown out of the superintendent position. Your job is to lead and improve, neither of which you have done.
Despite these issues, Runcie should have at least increased school safety in the county where one of the worst school shootings in history occurred, right? Come on, something got better right? Wrong. The only thing that changed has been a mandate on the amount of code red drills. We now practice how to stay safe if there is an active shooter once a month. While this is a good start, a shooter shouldn’t be able to get into our school. We need proper security. A 7 foot fence around our school means nothing if nobody is there to see someone climb over it. Pompano is protected by 6 unarmed security guards and a resource officer who is sometimes on campus. While I am thankful for those who attempt to protect our school, if someone came on campus with a gun, wanting to harm our students, the security is either going to run for the hills or get shot. You would think that after an event as despicable and tragic as the Parkland shooting, you would want to make sure that really will never happen again. Runcie was to busy trying to prove that his program wasn’t involved to actually make a change. He cares only about his reputation, he couldn’t care less about the students.
In wake of his trial, organizations such as the NAACP have called this attempt to remove him racist. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Runcie has had the Florida branch of the NAACP in his pocket since 2012 when he began the PROMISE program. They hailed him. But regardless, this is far from racist. Parents of the victims of the shooting have called for his removal not because he is black, but because he got children killed. He failed at his job and when he should have been working overtime to drastically change the security measures in his schools, he was too busy covering himself to do it.
The school board decided to allow him to keep his job. They voted 6:3 in his favor, which shows their priorities. Broward county has officially proved themselves as the most corrupt and unlawful county in America. They are constantly messing up and trying to pass the blame to others instead of fixing the problem. No parent should ever have to lose a child as a result of a public officials pride. I’m done listening to politicians ramble so they look good. Runcie has lost my respect and he should have lost his job as well.