DeSantis suspends 4 elected school board members after Parkland report
The grand jury completed its report in April 2021, but it was sealed while members of the school board fought for its release. Last week, the state Supreme Court rejected the board members’ final appeal to modify their names from the report, and it was made public.
As it happened, the report’s publication coincided with the trial of the conviction of the gunman in the shooting, Nicolas Cruz, who faces a sentence of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. His defense team started presenting its side in the case on Monday.
In the years since the shooting, two family members of those killed have been elected to the school board: Lori Alhadeff, who lost her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, elected in 2018, and Debra Hixon, who lost her husband. Chris, the school’s athletic director, was selected in 2020. The grand jury found that Ms. Alhadeff, Ms. Hixon and two other board members had either performed their duties optimally or had not been on the board for the long period for which they were responsible. District’s failure
This month, Mr DeSantis called on the Democratic top prosecutor in Hillsborough County, Andrew H. Warren made national headlines for being suspended from office, where Tampa vowed not to prosecute those seeking or providing abortions. That suspension, which Mr Warren is fighting in court, stunned political observers in the state because it was not preceded by criminal charges, as suspensions of elected officials have been in the past.
In contrast, Mr. DeSantis’ action to suspend members of the Broward County School Board was not as unexpected as recommended in the grand jury report.
The governor also appointed four Republicans to replace the suspended board members. After appointing a member in April to fill Ms Osgood’s former seat, she has now nominated five Republicans to the board. The board has now shifted to a majority of Republican men, run by nine Democratic women. Electing conservatives to school boards has been one of Mr. DeSantis’s priorities this year, as the cultural battle in education has become a key to GOP political campaigns.