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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The Broward School District reassigned four school leaders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Monday in response to information they received from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission.
The administrators — Jeff Morford, Winfred Porter and Denise Reed along with Security Specialist Kelvin Greenleaf — are being reassigned to administrative jobs in the Broward School District.
“It was welcome news today to hear that the District is taking action,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter, Alaina, was murdered at the school. Petty is member of the MSD Commission. He related several errors that he said school leaders made the day of the shooting.
“Gates were opened and unguarded,” Petty said. “Gates were opened early. Code red was not called for 3 minutes and 16 seconds.”
During MSD Commission meetings earlier this month they learned of a “conversation among campus monitors and AP Morford last year about Cruz’s potential to be a school shooter. (The group) joked that Cruz would likely come for AP Morford first because Morford frequently had issues with Cruz” according to a Commission investigative report.
The Commission also learned that a student and teacher said they warned Morford about Cruz in the past.
“Morford told the student that he was being taken out of the school by his parent and he did not have to worry about it,” according to a Commission report. Also, a teacher “immediately went to the office and notified AP Jeff Morford that Cruz was on campus” in 2017, after Cruz was expelled. But “Morford denied” the teacher reported this to him.
“We heard lots of testimony about students and staff that had reported the aberrant behavior of Cruz and it was either ignored or dismissed,” Petty said.
Investigators also told the Commission about locked bathrooms on the 3rd floor of the Freshman Building, preventing two students from finding safety away from Cruz. The bathrooms were locked due to persistent vaping, the Commission said. Commission member Max Schachter, whose son, Alex, died in the shooting, took up this issue at the meetings earlier this month when he questioned one of the investigators.
SCHACHTER: “Which administration officer made the decision to lock the bathrooms?”
INVESTIGATOR: “I don’t know. I don’t know if we reached a…It was Mr. Porter.”
SCHACHTER: “Porter made that decision.”
Greg Pittman teaches American history at Stoneman Douglas. He said many teachers are angry at the reassignment of the school leaders and at the way this decision was communicated to them.
“If there are legitimate reasons why they shouldn’t be there, as teachers we want to know what they are,” Pittman said.
Pittman believes it’s unfair to blame these administrators.
“I want to know what school in Broward County has been trained for this kind go situation prior to us having it,” he said. “Please tell me which one? I want to see the evidence.”
Another Stoneman Douglas teacher, Sarah Lerner, told CBS 4 News that the majority of teachers appear to be upset about this move. She said they understand the need for investigations but believe the institutional knowledge from these administrators is crucial and that they should still be in their jobs while they are investigated.
A group of teachers is planning to protest the decision outside of MSD tomorrow morning before classes begin.
In the wake of the shooting, there has been persistent criticism of the leadership at Stoneman Douglas. The School’s Principal, Ty Thompson, remains in his position.
The Broward School District said in its statement Monday that they are expecting more information from the MSD Commission and they will examine additional information from the Commission as they review the response to the shooting and the events that led to it.