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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was in Broward County Wednesday afternoon, his office sent a petition to the Florida Supreme Court for a grand jury.
The governor believes it’s needed to make sure school districts are not refusing or failing to follow the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act.
He also wants to make sure districts are not involved in fraud or knowingly failing at using state funds to protect students.
“I think it’s something that may lead to accountability measures by a grand jury. But it could also lead to, and I think it will, to recommendations about what some of the various school districts can do better,” the governor said.
DeSantis wants a statewide grand jury to be based in Broward. If it happens, it’ll have residents from throughout state with a main purpose to see if school districts are breaking laws meant to keep kids safe.
In order for a statewide grand jury to meet, Attorney David Weinstein says the governor has to have evidence of wrongdoing.
“It’s got to be something more than a hunch. It can’t just be I have a feeling that something is going on. He has to have seen something to believe that somebody is committing fraud or violating the implementation,” Weinstein said.
In the petition, the governor describes the shooting in Parkland as “tragic and avoidable” and stated there were failures by “school officials” and “State actors”.
Weinstein told CBS4 News there’s more to the message than just asking for additional oversight.
“What this tells parents is that this governor is taking seriously the safety and education of all of the students in the state of Florida,” the attorney said.
Weinstein believes the governor will get his wish. If so, that means a group of up to 21 people could meet several times for a year or more in private.
Unlike the MSD Public Safety Commission, a grand jury has the power to get people to testify under oath.
We will only know the grand jury’s findings either through a report or indictments of school leaders.
“What this sends to the school superintendents is, you better have a plan, you better have one that’s in place, and you better start moving forward with the plan,” Weinstein said
Back in 2002, Governor Jeb Bush called for a statewide grand jury after carjackings in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. It’s still unclear when there will be a decision on the governor’s request for a grand jury.