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Court Finds Broward Officials Had No Constitutional Duty to Protect Students

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A federal judge says Broward County schools and the sheriff's office had no legal duty to protect students during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last February.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom last month dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the crisis that claimed 17 lives. Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.

The decision was handed down Dec. 12, three weeks before a state commission investigating the shootings in Parkland, Fla., approved a tough final report that addresses the cascade of errors revealed in the wake of the shooting, including fumbled tips, lax school security policies, and sheriff's deputies who hung back as shots were fired.

The report recommends allowing teachers to carry guns if they go through training and background checks. Other recommendations include establishing safe areas for students to hide in classrooms; locking all campus gates, unless staffed; accurately reporting crime and safety incidents by schools; making mental-health and counseling records a part of each student's record; limiting the number of referrals a student can receive to arrest-diversion programs; and giving law enforcement real-time access to all school camera systems.

Vol. 38, Issue 18, Page 4

Published in Print: January 16, 2019, as Court Finds Broward Officials Had No Constitutional Duty to Protect Students
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