School officials “did not follow through” when Nikolas Cruz asked for special assistance months before the massacre, a new report finds.
The Sun-Sentinel released parts of a new report that found that Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz asked school officials for help months before he allegedly gunned down 14 fellow classmates and three adults—but the school district “did not follow through.”
That failure by school officials was singled out in a court-ordered report released Friday into the school district’s handling of Cruz’s behavioral issues. While more than half of the report was redacted, the blacked-out sections of the document could still easily be read by copying and pasting into a separate document, a trick used by The Sun-Sentinel to release the unredacted report.
Among the conclusions in the report, authored by the Collaborative Educational Network of Tallahassee, are two glaring instances in which Broward school officials failed to act in accordance with laws governing the treatment of students with disabilities.
In Cruz’s junior year, after he had already begun exhibiting behavior so disturbing it led to guidance counselors wanting to have him committed, the teenager sat down with education specialists to discuss his options for further schooling. He was told he could transfer to Cross Creek, a school tailored for students with special needs; sue the Broward school district; or stay at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School without any special counseling. According to a review of that meeting featured in the new report, school officials left out one crucial fact: Cruz was still entitled to special assistance at Stoneman Douglas if he chose to stay.
Being unaware of this option, however, Cruz—whose developmental delays were flagged at age 3—was reportedly stripped of counseling services and left to fend for himself as a “regular student.”
Months later, when Cruz changed his mind and sought to transfer to Cross Creek, the school district “did not follow through,” according to the report. He dropped out on Feb. 8, 2017, due to failing grades, and three days later purchased an AR-15, the same one used a year later in what has now become one of the deadliest school shootings in the U.S.