A ‘Culture of Leniency’ in Broward Schools Tolerates Misbehavior

May 14, 2018 Last Updated: May 14, 2018

Parkland school massacre suspect Nikolas Cruz, had slipped through the cracks of the controversial “promise program,” due to a “culture of leniency,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Under the “promise program,” which has been implemented in Broward Schools, a student who commits a non-violent misdemeanor can repeat an offense as long as it’s not the exact same violation in the exact same year; a clean slate is started the following year.

Conduct that could be criminal could, therefore, slide by for years without strict punishment under the program.

“It’s extremely problematic,” said Tim Sternberg, a former assistant principal at Pine Ridge Educational Center who administered the promise program, FoxNews reported.

“You can develop a psyche that it is OK to commit crime because you can refresh the clock every year.”

Cruz was suspended at least 67 days over less than a year and a half at Westglades Middle School; his infractions continued at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School until he finally was forced to leave.

During middle school in 2013, Cruz was referred to a mentoring program for vandalizing a bathroom. The program was aimed at steering children away from the criminal justice system, however, Cruz did not fully participate. He again did not participate in the program while at Stoneman Douglas; administrators did not explain why.

More than five years ago, according to the Sun-Sentinel, a high school student who used profanity toward a staff member received a 3 to 10-day suspension. That was later reduced to one or two days.

The first violation for disruptive classroom behavior previously called for an in-school suspension of one to five days. In recent years, it was reduced to a suspension of under one day.