April's 3 Minutes at 5/22 SBBC Meeting
My name is April Schentrup. I’ve worked for Broward Schools for 20 years, the last 7 as a principal. My daughter, Carmen, was one of the 17 murdered at MSD.
Since February 14th, I have waited for our school leaders to do what they promised – to prioritize the “well-being of students, staff, and families” (2/21/18 SBBC mtg) and lead the quest to understand the conditions that lead up to the tragedy, “with both transparency and a sense of urgency” (3/6/18 SBBC mtg). I stand here today to say I have waited long enough.
Minutes after the FBI told us that Carmen was murdered, MSD’s board member (Freedman) entered the room and offered to do everything in her power to help. I begged her to find out all that happened and ensure this never happens again, as my only remaining daughter still attends MSD. I did not hear from her until the evening of May 8th, the first phone call from any board member since Carmen’s name was released to the media (another victim’s parent upset at SBBC lack of empathy also 4/10/18 SBBC mtg). And coincidentally, the day after I added my name to speak at this meeting. In addition, my family and other victim’s families didn’t get cards, letters, or emails of condolence from any board members. The only email we received was one blasted to the entire District stating that the school’s mass shooting would be lumped together as one tragedy for insurance purposes. What happened to putting the well-being of students, staff and families as a priority?
A few days after Carmen’s funeral, Mr. Runcie came to my home and said he would do anything he could for me and my family. Weeks later, I called him seeking help and advice. With deep concern for the stability of my school community in my absence, I requested a full-time intern principal and discussed my options for a leave. Mr. Runcie was quick to say that being a principal was not a part-time job and that other options were not available, as reassigning me might appear as favoritism, since MSD staff had to return to their school. After that call, however, I came to find out that he did less for me than what was done for MSD staff.
On Easter Sunday, I discovered that MSD staff were given time through Spring Break to cope and grieve. Instead, my time to mourn my daughter’s death was docked. It was only after I asked for this same treatment, that my time was later restored. I also learned MSD teachers were offered reassignments and that several Broward principals are assigned to special tasks, not to schools. Is this what Mr. Runcie meant by transparency?
The day after the mass shooting, the nation learned that the shooter, a troubled, former MSD student, walked through an open gate and an unlocked building without interference. About a month later, the shooter’s brother was able to skateboard onto the same campus without obstruction. This same administration and security staff that allowed the “worst tragedy in Broward School’s history” are still in charge of MSD’s security and discipline today. Where is the urgency and accountability?
From the beginning, this board and Mr. Runcie claimed that the MSD shooter was not part of the PROMISE program, that this was “fake news” (Osgood), only to then later recant that statement (5/7/18). They have also professed that safety is a priority while using SMART bond funds for Music, Athletics, Renovations, and Technology before completing Safety projects - 36 schools are still waiting for their Single Point of Entry (5/8/18 SBBC mtg). Where is the transparency of information and urgency for safety?
If “the loss of 17 wonderful, promising students and truly dedicated teachers” (2/21/18 SBBC mtg) doesn’t move you to LEAD, then what will?