JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended four members of the Broward County School Board following a recommendation from a grand jury examining the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Board members Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray and Laurie Rich Levinson were suspended from the nine-member panel immediately upon the order Friday from Mr. DeSantis, who also announced the appointment of four people to replace them.
“It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance or malfeasance,” said Mr. DeSantis, a Republican.
Ms. Levinson, the board‘s chair, told The Associated Press that the move to kick the four off the board was a “political hatchet job” orchestrated by Mr. DeSantis.
Seventeen people were killed by a gunman who stormed Stoneman Douglas High. The gunman, now 23, pleaded guilty and is currently in the midst of a trial to determine whether he is sentenced to death or life without parole.
The incident led to school safety reforms and new gun restrictions in the state, limiting firearm ownership for those under the age of 21 and authorizing court-approved removal of guns from those deemed mentally ill or dangerous.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Broward County police and school officials were criticized for lax safety measures and for failing to stop the shooting.
The Florida Supreme Court convened a grand jury to examine school safety.
In an April 2021 report, it found the Broward County School Board mismanaged funds dedicated to school safety and renovation projects by failing to take action when it became aware of serious problems within the program.
The report found a safety alarm could have saved lives at Stoneman Douglas and there is still not one installed at many Broward County schools.
The report also found “students continue to be educated in unsafe, aging, decrepit, moldy buildings that were supposed to have been renovated years ago.”
Broward County is the sixth-largest school district in the country and the second-largest in Florida.