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*LA TIMES: Report blames school district for failing Parkland shooter

Aug 3, 2018, LA Times: Florida school failed Parkland shooter, report says The Broward school district mishandled the case of student Nikolas Cruz when he asked for special help, long before he killed 17 staff and students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to a long-awaited report released Friday. For the first time, the report revealed that Cruz had asked to return to the district’s special education program, which would have provided him more support than he received as a general student, the report says. The report, by the Collaborative Educational Network of Tallahassee, found that the school district largely followed the policies and laws in place when educating Cruz, but failed on two occasions. … After rejecting special education, Cruz quickly failed. Three days after he was forced by the district to withdraw from the Parkland school, he purchased an AR-15. A year after his ejection, he returned and gunned down 14 students and three adults…. The report, however, suggests the district did not follow laws or policies in place when school employees tried to transfer Cruz, then a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, to a special education campus. Cruz, then 18, refused and removed himself from the special education program. Runcie has said that when Cruz made that decision, the district was unable to help him with special education services. But the consultant’s report reveals for the first time that Cruz later “requested reinstatement” of special education services, and the district mishandled his request. The revelation bolsters criticism from some special education experts, who said the district should have done more for Cruz, who had emotional and behavioral problems. … The consultant, however, found that the district largely handled Cruz properly, over 16 years of education. “With isolated exceptions, the district adhered to procedural and substantive requirements,” the report says. Without directly criticizing the school district, the consultant recommended the district reconsider how to handle cases like Cruz’s, where a “high-needs” special education student decides against participating in special education and then reverses the decision. …

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