Mass Shootings

Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Needed Help. Bureaucratic Errors Deprived Him of It.

School officials failed to grant him special assistance to which he was entitled under district policy.

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Cruz
Taimy Alvarez/TNS/Newscom

The story of the Parkland mass shooting is one of catastrophic incompetence at every level: the sheriff, school resource officers, school security guards, the FBI, and the school itself. On Friday, we learned about two more mistakes critical junctures in the life of Nikolas Cruz, who would go on to murder 17 of his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

More than a year before the shooting, education specialists told Cruz, who was struggling, that he should transfer to Cross Creek, an alternative school for students with special needs, according to a report obtained by The Sun-Sentinel. Cruz bucked this recommendation, choosing to stay at Stoneman Douglas. Under school district policy, he was still entitled to special-needs assistance while at Stoneman Douglas. But the school failed to provide with him the help.

That was mistake number one. Mistake number two came months later, when Cruz belatedly decided to enroll at Cross Creek after leaving Stoneman Douglas. According to The New York Times:

The district was required to respond to Mr. Cruz's request for special-needs services, known as exceptional student education, within 30 days, the report found. Instead, the district told Mr. Cruz that it would need to evaluate his eligibility for assistance—despite his 15-year record in the school system—and that the process could take six weeks.

The process never began: For a new special-needs evaluation to take place, Mr. Cruz first had to re-enroll in Stoneman Douglas. An administrator said it was too late in the school year to take him back.

Cruz bought an AR-15 three days after failing out of Stoneman Douglas. His bad choices are his own, and it's certainly possible that in an alternate timeline he simply would have shot up a different school. No one is response for his actions except him.

But the Parkland schools bureaucracy failed at absolutely every turn. We don't know what would have happened if school officials had done their jobs properly, but we do know that they were required to make an attempt to help Cruz. They did not. They left him to his own devices, adrift in the world, despite every warning that he was a disturbed and dangerous individual. This was a colossal screw-up—arguably one of the most consequential in the histories of public education and law enforcement.

NEXT: U.S.–Saudi Coalition Paid Al Qaeda Militants to Scram, Let Them Keep Weapons, Then Declared Wins Against Extremism in Yemen: Reason Roundup

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  1. …we do know that they were required to make an attempt to help Cruz.

    Or else what? There are never bureaucratic consequences. Only real world ones.

  2. “No one is response for his actions except him.”

    *Responsible

  3. “We don’t know what would have happened if school officials had done thier jobs properly, but we do know that they were required to make an attempt to help Cruz. ”

    *Their

    Come on man?!!?

    1. They farmed out the editing to a company that only hires dyslexics to prove how well specialized programs work.

      1. I was kidding when I made the point that Reason writers have little to fear from uneducated illegal invaders taking their jobs. Apparently, I was wrong. Anyone can use Chrome’s Autocorrect.

  4. “But the school failed to provide with him the help.”

    *him with

    1. Give Robby a break. Was a busy cocktail party weekend with all the anti white racists he had to defend.

    2. Hang this shooter… his uncle Ted is the one in need of psychiatric help.

  5. More than a year before the shooting, education specialists told Cruz, who was struggling, that he should transfer to Cross Creek, an alternative school for students with special needs, according to a report obtained by The Sun-Sentinel.

    Alternatively, we could reform the curriculum so students do not have to learn the history the nearly 200 countries on the planet and every officially oppressed subgroup in them. Then we could cut high school down to 4 days per week with 8 hours per day so that kids can develop a life outside of the progressive machine designed to turn our children into cogs. Let’s face it, special education did not stop the Newtown shooting in Connecticut.

    1. The graduate student union sent me a link to an article about metal health problems among graduate students. It says that 7% of graduate students seriously consider suicide compared to 4% of American adults. One suggested solution was reducing the workload and hours at work. When will high school students unionize to demand fewer hours?

      1. Or maybe admit fewer snowflakes into grad programs?

      2. I’d love to see a breakdown by major, but I think we’d all be able to spot the trend.

      3. In that article about metal health problems, do they only get into heavy metals poisoning, or does it cover radioactive isotopes as well?

        1. Heavy metal has nothing to do with it! Who are you, Tipper Gore?!?

    2. IIRC, before that Cruz was honored for his scholastic performance a couple of times. Indicating that it likely was not his learning ability that was the problem and more the compulsory association/socialization that was the issue.

  6. Not sure why this is news, system failed. Mkay. Very sad but exactly what libertarians are saying will and does happen.

    1. So what actually works?

      Honestly – flinging poo around is a skill that pretty much every chimp in a zoo possesses.
      ‘Good guy with a gun’ failed miserably too.

      so what’s left – wishful thinking? who gives a damn?

      1. Banishment?

        Seriously, if an individual shows as many troubling and potentially dangerous signs as Cruz, and we don’t want to lock him up or re-program him, then how about exile?

        1. That would run afoul of due process, presumably. Preventive measures would run afoul of NRA extremism, on the other hand.

          1. So you’re arguing that the bureaucrats did nothing cuz the NRA was pressuring them to do nothing?

          2. Tony|8.6.18 @ 12:28PM|#
            “…Preventive measures would run afoul of NRA extremism,…”

            You misspelled “the Constitution”, shitbag.

            1. That is certainly what the extremists at the NRA want you to think.

        2. Banishment/exile only really works if there’s a place to banish/exile someone to. That used to be the Americas. Send your problem kids over there, and regardless of how that works out for them, it won’t really get back to you.

          Nowadays? There’s no frontiers left, no where for them to go. And that’s before we even get into international law about stripping citizenship of folks.

          1. Alcatraz.

            If that fills up, Bikini atoll may be radiation-free now – and even if it isn’t, well maybe kids should learn to suck it up and deal with reality.

          2. Yeah, I realize that. But I still think about exile as a more humane (libertarian?) form of punishment.

        3. Well that’s pretty much what they did. He got kicked out of school and came back and shot up the place…

      2. Who was the good guy with the gun in this case? The deputies who held back waiting for orders?

        1. Scot Peterson, the SRO .

          1. Scot Peterson, the deputy that held back. Waiting for orders.

            1. He had a gun, but was in no way a “good guy”.

      3. – Parents arranging their own school choices for their own children.
        – Charities.
        – Humanity (versus bureaucracy).
        – Actual communities (versus the current hierarchy of people struggling for power and scheming to acquire or spend money they didn’t earn).

        Nothing solves every problem though.

        1. Nothing solves every problem though.

          Communism does. Just ask any communist that hasn’t actually experienced it.

          1. Just ask Tony.

            1. But you repeat myself.

          2. I’m leaving for Ukraine on Saturday to work there for 2 years. I feel like I’m doing my duty to help overcome the issues caused by communism. Another person in our group is a Marxist. He wants to go over to study the successes of the communist regime because obviously we’ve been lying all these years and millions of people they killed (6.5 million in one year alone through forced starvation) were all made up.

            On the other side, I had a hard explaining to a Ukrainian friend why they didn’t have any really large cities. She never considered that the communist killed millions of Ukrainian over the years keeping the population low. It took a while for it to sink in.

        2. “Nothing solves every problem though.”

          Death solves all problems.
          But in all fairness, it is an extreme measure.
          Buyer beware.

  7. The district was required to respond to Mr. Cruz’s request for special-needs services, known as exceptional student education, within 30 days, the report found. Instead, the district told Mr. Cruz that it would need to evaluate his eligibility for assistance?despite his 15-year record in the school system?and that the process could take six weeks.

    The process never began: For a new special-needs evaluation to take place, Mr. Cruz first had to re-enroll in Stoneman Douglas. An administrator said it was too late in the school year to take him back.

    Sounds like the typical bureaucratic clusterfuck that one would expect from a public school.

    1. If superintendents were paid more than the 400k a yesr they get on average ..

      1. And if parents were exiled for any misstep to leave their children to government top men…

      2. I think Yuku meant the 400k in jest, but note in urban areas, school administrators make bank. Even if not, they fail because they have no direct incentive to succeed as customers aren’t paying directly.

        So if they’re making 100k today and we up it to 400k, we’ll simply have ‘richer’ school administrators making the exact same mistakes.

    2. As a white male he had privilege, no need for any special treatment
      (Said the special treatment group, probably)

  8. Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    Of course, that presupposes that any of the actors in this farce can be classified as ‘good’.

  9. “special-needs services, known as exceptional student education”

    That explanation doesn’t add much, since both terms are essentially content-free. Not that this detail matters much, but it’s like having an official “Miscellaneous” category. Which is fine, unless you say “miscellaneous, known as non-categorized.”

  10. Come on. We kinda-sorta followed procedures. What more do you people want from us?

    1. Your guns. Always your guns.

      1. Ever notice that regressive theology comes down to everything must be “fixed” according to the lowest common denominator?

        The way I work is to fix to the 95% and not the 5%.

      2. …and all your property.
        And, yes, that does mean your sister.

  11. It’s not too late to remove that idiotic infiltrated plank condemning taxpayers to support these criminals with free room and board for life.

    1. Are you talking about the death penalty? If so, just say death penalty. You don’t have to mire your phrasing in obscure references that in no way make you seem clever.

  12. The problem was autism ‘treatment’ which is basically just mass shooter training. This started when he was 2 years old and it was too late for the school district to do anything. In fact the SROs regularly bullied him and other kids. The community needs to roll back ‘security’ and ‘treatment’ because they are what create this problem.

    1. Yeah, not happening.

      My kids are in Broward schools. They are massively expanding the SRO program in response to this. It isn’t clear exactly what is happening, but it looks like most if not all schools will be having a security officer. Every school is undergoing a security review, and security is being upgraded both through facilities improvements and personnel.

      1. Well if one fat ass RoaD parasite milking the system, and cowering won’t solve the problem, then maybe a whole bunch of fat ass RoaD parasites milking the system, and cowering will.

        1. Milking and cowering is a good band name

      2. Seems to me that the better first step is to break up the Broward County School district. It’s way too big to be managed effectively or accountably – 270,000 kids in 320 schools (and probably 30,000 or so employees total).

  13. And now the state fails to execute.

    Just failure all the way down.

  14. >>>bureaucracy failed

    sun came up in the east today too

  15. “the bureaucracy failed” is soft-pedaling it.

    The redacted (but easily unredactable) report says that they “mistakenly” told him that he was not eligible for support services if he didn’t move back to the special school at Cross Creek.

    This was wrong, he could have received the services at MSD. But they made him sign away his right to the services that they knew he needed as a condition of allowing him to stay at MSD.

    My supposition would be that they were tired of dealing with him, knew he was a problem case and took the opportunity to wash their hands of him Without support services, they knew he would fail at MSD. That strategy backfired. He didn’t go away quietly and become someone else’s problem.

    1. “”the bureaucracy failed” is soft-pedaling it.”

      Bureaucracies are not made to help the general public.
      They are there to kick back, relax, surf the web, whine about their low pay, their insufficient benefits, having only 30 days off, etc.
      Obviously, you didn’t take a Public Administration 101 course in college.

  16. So…no mention of his ‘foster’ parents? You want the State to manage everything with this troubled loser, but point no fingers at the guardians in his life who should have stepped up.

    Or perhaps the law enforcement community that did almost no followup to the reports of his threats.

    But no….let’s push for more Statism!!

    1. Yep, the whole article is one big exercise in question begging.

    2. So…no mention of his ‘foster’ parents? You want the State to manage everything with this troubled loser, but point no fingers at the guardians in his life who should have stepped up.

      His foster father was long dead. His foster mother (age more comparable to his grandmother) was overwhelmed and dying – and soon to be dead.

      I’m sure things would go a lot better if dead people just sucked it up and did their jobs better.

      OTOH – it’s also possible that anyone arguing that perspective is beyond clueless.

      1. There is a reason foster is written as ‘foster’. Cruz was living with a family who took him in. He wasn’t on his own, but had, for all intensive purposes, ‘foster’ parents.

        Or do you not understand the details of this story? Particularly since his mom was already dead.

        1. When the events in this story take place, his adoptive mother was still alive – but soon to be dead.

          Like it or not, this is a scenario that’s not unexpected when parents are grandparent age. esp a single grandparent – where it was adoptive not biological. And it DOES involve the state doing something more than just abdicating responsibility to random strangers who may or may not actually exist. Which also means it is clueless to assert that the state shouldn’t have a role cuz hey if the parents die then the kids can make the right decisions about which stranger will finish raising them.

          1. When children’s parents die today, if more than one family is willing to take the child/children and the kids are over 5 or 6 the court system will absolutely take into account their desires about which home they want to live in and all else being held equal, the children will usually get their wish. IE – what you say isn’t happening is and does all the time (see divorce court as an example).

            In this case his parent may not have been capable, but she existed, so government involvement, or blaming the government for lack of involvement, is bad given any solution to this misidentified problem will only make things significantly worse for all involved.

            Meaning the power that would have to be given to the school and others to intervene more directly would be an affront to freedom of choosing how to raise a family.

            Don’t get me wrong – this was tragic and should not have happened, but not every problem has a solution. This is one of them (though better standards in getting him special attention amu have helped, any action allowed which is more direct and proactive would violate individual rights to an untenable degree) .

            1. In this case his parent may not have been capable, but she existed, so government involvement, or blaming the government for lack of involvement, is bad given any solution to this misidentified problem will only make things significantly worse for all involved.

              This is just dead wrong imo. And the explanation is at the core of why libertarian ideas are almost exclusively voiced by men not women. Kids are NOT parental property. That does not mean they are state or village property either. They own themselves but are not necessarily capable of making rational decisions for themselves. Further, she was clearly overwhelmed and perhaps even threatened by her son – which is why she called the cops 30 different times over the previous 7 years.

              Saying that the state has absolutely no role and should abdicate all responsibility to parents means that de facto you are completely supporting the most bureaucratic union representative in saying that bureaucrats themselves can’t ever be held accountable for anything. Even when, as in this case, there is literally a shit-ton of evidence and different events where the state was pulled in BECAUSE something was clearly wrong.

              I understand why libertarians hate the whole goo-goo philosophy. Because if you don’t believe there is ANY legitimate function for government, then there is no reason for holding them accountable for performing that function well.

          2. You apparently can’t even be bothered to understand the facts.

  17. Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Needed Help.

    If by “help” you mean “a bullet in the head.”

    1. Best thing for him really, his therapy was going nowhere.

      1. Thank you, Hannibal.
        Now be a good boy and eat your kidneys.

    2. Sure thing.

  18. “We don’t know what would have happened if school officials had done their jobs properly…”

    We don’t know if the school officials can do ‘their job’ properly. I’m not even clear we have a functional idea of what their jobs (not job titles Robby) actually are.

    So, maybe the mistake was ever thinking that government could fix him. Ever think about it that way Soave?

    1. “So, maybe the mistake was ever thinking that government could fix him. Ever think about it that way Soave?”

      Or that the government *should* be doing so.
      Reduced to ‘responsibilities’, the kids who were shot were under government requirement to be in a specific location, and it is therefore the government’s job to protect *them*, not to ‘fix’ someone with issues.
      The failure was there, and pretty specifically the guy ‘waiting for orders’.

  19. I’m not sure what the takeaway here is.

    Shitty, failed government failed to enroll the dude in different shitty, failed, government program?

    They left him to his own devices, adrift in the world,

    Isn’t that what we want? Where’s the blame for all the non-government people who also left him to his own devices, adrift in the world? Does anyone think government counseling would have done anything other than, at best, make this kid’s life hellish? Or, once they locked him up ‘on a hunch’ would we have had Reason articles bemoaning the nanny-state enacting ‘Minority Report’?

    1. Or, once they locked him up ‘on a hunch’ would we have had Reason articles bemoaning the nanny-state enacting ‘Minority Report’?

      Based on reactions to any CPS story, yes. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  20. Siohvaughn Funches is a famous Public speaker, Christian Counselor, and creator and Siohvaughn Funches born in The America.

  21. AH, yes. The tired refrain of ‘more money and better central planning would have prevented this’ argument.

    Personally, I for one am tired of this epidemic of private and charter school shootings! Or…wait…is that not what’s happening?

    HOW ODD!

  22. Police took down Social media posts and the media and politicians created their own narrative!
    ‘He Talked About Killing Our Parents, Our Friends’: Shooting Suspect’s Friend Says She Warned School
    A friend of the Florida school shooting suspect told Good Morning America on Tuesday that Nikolaz Cruz talked about killing people regularly and she and others warned the school repeatedly about him.
    From The Hill: “He talked about killing our parents, our friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends,” Ariana Lopez said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
    “He would talk about how he sympathized with Syrian terrorists, and how those who opposed him should be killed. He posted pictures of 15 or more firearms just on his bed,” she added. (police state took down these posts)

    1. Facebook had a hand in removing gun pics likely.

  23. exceptional student education…well in a manner of speaking, he did an exceptional thing…

  24. From what I have read I doubt that there was anything to “help” him. People like that are pure evil.

  25. So people shoot others because society didn’t treat them as they were entitled not because they’re idiots who try to solve their problems with guns at the expense of other people. Thanks Reason!

    Unfortunately for you the article didn’t address the issue in the manner I believe I am entitled to.

    Just kidding to make a point but can you see the problem with the above?

  26. Cruz should have visited a psychologist–Of course he would have lost his gun rights if he had…

  27. In this tragedy we see the folly of relying on government bureaucracy to solve problems. When problems are initially noted, government worries more about CYA and finding someone else to deal with and take responsibility for things.
    I’m not saying that government doesn’t have a place in everyday life, but the concept that the government will take care of us and keep us safe is false.
    Many of our problems have risen out of the breakdown of the family unit. Government can’t fix that.

    1. Because government social problems caused it in the first place. From the Great Society on.

  28. Bureaucratic Errors: Is there nothing that they can’t do?
    If ever there was a more problematic bureaucratic swamp than Broward County, the country hasn’t seen it yet.
    Seriously, does Florida need to build a wall to keep the Browards In, and Americans Out?

  29. He’s getting away with Murder plain and simple.

  30. The greatest contributor to the Parkland Massacre was government *policy* in Broward County, pushed by the Obama administration, titled “Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline”, in which the Schools, Courts, and Police agreed not to uphold the law on student offenders

    Coulter in THE SCHOOL-TO-MASS-MURDER PIPELINE:
    School and law enforcement officials knew Cruz was a ticking time bomb. They did nothing because of a deliberate, willful, bragged-about policy to end the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
    In a stroke of genius, they realized that the only problem criminals have is that people keep lists of their criminal activities…
    http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2018-02-28.html

    This primitive, stone-age thinking was made official Broward County policy in a Nov. 5, 2013, agreement titled “Collaborative Agreement on School Discipline.”

    The first “whereas” clause of the agreement states that “the use of arrests and referrals to the criminal justice system may decrease a student’s chance of graduation, entering higher education, joining the military and getting a job.”

    COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENT ON SCHOOL DISCIPLINE
    THIS AGREEMENT
    is made and entered into as of this 5 day of November, 2013, by and between
    THE SCHOOL BOARD OF BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA
    https://goo.gl/Ewbczc

    Follow up article
    Coulter in RACIAL QUOTAS KILL KIDS:
    http://www.anncoulter.com/columns/2018-03-07.html

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