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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Five years ago, the Broward School District rejected a proposal that could have led to stronger security measures.
Some parents say that if the measure had passed, the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School could have been prevented.
The security lapses identified after the Stoneman Douglas mass shooting might have been dealt with.
At a Broward School Board meeting in March 2013, Superintendent Robert Runcie and all but one board member rejected a legislative proposal that would have meant $55 million in tax money for school safety and mental health initiatives.
“It’s very sad. I want to cry” said former state senator Eleanor Sobel of Hollywood when she saw the mass shooting unfold February 14, 2018.
Sobel had proposed the bill that, with voter approval, would have set up a special taxing district in Broward to spend money on school security and mental health.
But the superintendent and board said no thanks.
“It was unbelievable. They said ‘we don’t need it’ and ‘don’t tell us what to do,’” said Sobel. “I was heartsick. If you don’t have local approval, it’s two times as hard to get through the legislature.”
At the time, the school board wanted to concentrate on school renovation and advancing technology.
The only board member to agree with the legislative proposal was Nora Rupert.
The revelation that the school board and superintendent Runcie rejected a security funding source is shattering to parents who lost children last February.
“As a father, it’s hard to forgive what they should have done,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter was killed in the mass shooting.
“We could have fixed it and the 17 would be alive today,” said Lori Alhadeff, a current school board member whose daughter was also killed.
Eleanor Sobel is hoping the district is now looking to the past to change the future.
“I think they need to do it now for our schools,” she said.