A controversial school discipline program adopted by the Broward County, Fla., district to reduce student arrests cannot be blamed for the shooting by a former student there, a state commission said last week.
The PROMISE program, created in 2013, requires schools to refer students to an alternative disciplinary program instead of law enforcement for a list of nonviolent offenses. Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, was referred to the program for three days after he damaged a faucet in a middle school restroom, but it is not clear if he attended.
Some critics of the program had suggested that, had Cruz been arrested instead, the infraction would have showed up on his criminal record, eliminating his ability to buy the AR-15 he used in the attack, the Sun Sentinel reported.
But the Florida commission concluded the referral was unconnected to the gunman’s access to weapons, and even if Cruz had been arrested for vandalism, he would have been a juvenile first-time offender, which would not have limited his ability to buy guns.
A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2018 edition of Education Week as Student-Diversion Program Not to Blame for Massacre in Florida, Commission Finds