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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Emotions boiled over at Tuesday’s Broward School Board meeting with embattled Superintendent Robert Runcie caught in the middle.
At issue, his decision to keep recent meetings with parents of Marjory Stoneman Douglas students private, as well as whether he is deliberately targeting new school board member Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter was killed in the school massacre a year ago.
“Mr Runcie, the voices in the district will no longer be silenced,” said Alhadeff, who put forth an issue on the agenda to schedule public town meetings.
Board member Robin Bartleman railed against district staff for insensitivity.
“Am I crazy our staff would schedule a meeting on a day of a religious ceremony for her daughter? That is sickening,” said Bartleman.
The NAACP has warned Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Runcie critic, that any move against him would be considered ‘political and racist’.
At the meeting, Runcie supporters rallied for him to stay.
“The superintendent has done a good job and Parkland parents don’t speak for all of Broward County,” said supporter Wayne Barton.
But Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the massacre, tweeted ‘NAACP do not make this about race. My daughter and 16 others were murdered on his watch Runcie needs to resign.’
“It has to do with failures before and after the murders,” said Guttenberg from Washington, where he is in town to attend the State of the Union as a guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Runcie is blamed for missing warning signs of confessed shooter Nikolas Cruz and for an inadequate and slow response for improved school security after the shooting.
“My heart bleeds. If I could change things I would. But we have to figure out how to move forward after the tragedy,” Runcie told reporters after the meeting.
Alhadeff said afterwards she was glad the superintendent has agreed to schedule public town meetings.
“I’m happy with the outcome. School board members can be here for the community,” she said.