Governor Ron DeSantis Calls for Statewide Grand Jury on School Safety

Governor Ron DeSantis’ Office:

 

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to examine and review school safety measures throughout the state, as well as the responses of public entities to laws designed to protect schools such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.

 

“As the one-year anniversary of one of the darkest days in Florida history approaches, it’s clear more needs to be done,” said Governor DeSantis. “What’s truly devastating is that the tragedy in Parkland was avoidable. As Governor, I have a moral obligation to protect the children in our state, which is why I have requested a statewide grand jury to investigate school safety practices and failures occurring around the state and to identify measures to improve the safety of our students.”

 


Photo Credit: Governor Ron DeSantis Press Office

 

In February 2018, mass murder was committed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This massacre drew attention to systematic failures by school officials and other state actors who should have ensured student safety. Unfortunately, these systematic failures are not unique to just one school district.

 

The grand jury investigation will examine districts across the state. The grand jury will investigate any crime or wrong within Florida Statute § 905.34 that relates to the following:

• Whether refusal or failure to follow the mandates of school-related safety laws, such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, results in unnecessary and avoidable risk to students across the state;

• Whether public entities committed – and continue to commit – fraud and deceit by accepting state funds conditioned on implementation of certain safety measures while knowingly failing to act;

• Whether school officials committed – and continue to commit – fraud and deceit by mismanaging, failing to use, and diverting funds from multi-million-dollar bonds specifically solicited for school safety initiatives; and

• Whether school officials violated – and continue to violate – state law by systematically underreporting incidents of criminal activity to the Florida Department of Education. 

 

After the Florida Supreme Court approves the Governor’s request, Chief Justice Charles Canady will designate a circuit judge to preside over the grand jury. The presiding judge shall, by lot and at random, select and impanel the 18-member statewide grand jury from the jury lists of circuits he designates. Because the grand jury’s investigation will reach issues connected to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the Governor has proposed the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Broward County) as the base operating area.

 

Pursuant to Florida Statues § 905.33 and § 905.34, the jurisdiction of the statewide grand jury shall extend throughout the state to investigate crimes, return indictments, make presentments or direct issuance of reports, and otherwise perform all functions of a statewide grand jury with regard to the full list of offenses enumerated in Florida Statute § 905.34.

William Davison Running For Broward School Board District 9

Dania Beach resident William Davison has filed for the at-large seat on the Broward County School Board (District 9). This seat is currently held by Robin Bartleman of Weston. Davison, a school board activist, has sought elected office before. Here is his bio posted in the Sun-Sentinel back in September 2002:

“PERSONAL: 62; divorced; father of three grown sons; resident of Dania Beach

EDUCATION: Holds Master Plumber Certificate of Competency; junior status: political science major with a minor in psychology, Florida International University; associate of arts degree in business administration, Broward Community College, 1997; Fort Lauderdale High School plumbing code class, 1988-1989; Northeast Vocational plumbing apprenticeship, 1966; South Broward High School, 1959 graduate

CIVIC: Coordinator of Broward County Joint Apprenticeship Committee for Plumbers and Pipefitters, on the executive board of Plumbers and Pipefitter Local 719, Fort Lauderdale; attended the 1998 and 1999 conferences of the National Association of Elementary School Principals

POLITICAL: Unsuccessful bids for Dania Beach City Commission, 1972, and for School Board, 2000

PROFESSIONAL: Journeyman plumber and pipefitter, 35 years; construction superintendent for Powers Regulator Services responsible for three states and Washington, D.C.; worked at a number of hospitals in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Md., and the Culpeper Medical Center in Culpeper, Va.”

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