While students and the liberal media rush to blame the National Rifle Association for the tragic school shooting in Parkland, President Barack Obama’s PROMISE program may have actually helped to keep Nikolas Cruz from failing a background check that would have stopped him from purchasing guns.
Last week, Rush Limbaugh discussed the program and how it may have contributed to this senseless massacre.
In an effort to close the racial achievement gap in Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, Robert Runcie was brought in to serve as superintendent in 2013.
While attempting to figure out why black students had a graduation rate of only 61 percent compared to 81 percent for white students, Runcie determined that it was largely because of their arrest rates.
“One of the first things I saw was a huge differential in minority students, black male students in particular, in terms of suspensions and arrests,” Runcie told American Prospect magazine in 2013. The magazine noted that “black students made up two-thirds of all suspensions during the 2011-2012 school year despite comprising only 40 percent of the student body.”
Instead of concluding that perhaps there is more crime within certain groups, Runcie deduced that it must be racial bias leading to the arrests.
“It doesn’t prove anything of the sort. It proves who’s committing the crimes. And if you don’t like that, if you’re Obama and Holder and you don’t like that, then you want to change that, the only way you can do it is by ignoring some of the crime, not charging, not arresting, and not imprisoning, to change the percentages,” Limbaugh pointed out.
To combat this perceived injustice, Broward announced broad changes designed to mitigate the use of harsh punishments for minor misbehavior. The county, working with a member of the local NAACP, amended discipline codes, prohibited arrests in many circumstances and developed alternatives to suspension. Soon, arrests of students dropped 66%.
The payoff was big, as President Obama’s program rewarded local governments with grants if they kept school arrests down.
Here’s the problem, without the arrests — there is no record that will show up in a background check to keep violent young adults from purchasing firearms.
“Something like, what is it, 18 states don’t even report data to the background check system? So what good is it, if the data isn’t even there? If there were perps that are not being arrested, that are not being charged, they will not show up in a background check when they go to buy a gun. And there is or was an Obama administration policy to change this prison ratio under the guise that it was built by bias and racism,” Limbaugh lamented. “No matter what steps you put into place to prevent these kind of people from getting guns, if the procedure is corrupted, it’s not gonna be worth anything.”
During a recent interview with Jake Tapper, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel was asked about the Obama-era program.
“A lot of people in the community have noted that the Broward County School Board entered into an agreement when you were sheriff in 2013, to pursue the least punitive means of discipline against students,” Tapper began. “And this new policy encouraged warnings, consultations with parents, programs on conflict resolution instead of arresting students for crimes. Weren’t there incidents committed by the shooter as a student that if this new policy hadn’t been in place, he would have been arrested for and then not able to legally the buy a gun?”
Sheriff Israel responded by defending the program.
“What you’re referring to is the PROMISE Program, and it’s giving the school… The school has the ability under certain circumstances not to call the police, not to get the police involved on misdemeanor offenses and take care of it within the school. It’s an excellent program. It’s helping many, many people. What this program does is not put a person at 14, 15, 16 years old into the criminal justice system, so they can —” Israel ranted.
“What if he should be in the criminal justice system?” Tapper interjected. “What if he does something violent to a student? What if he takes bullets to school?”
“That… Then…” Israel muttered.
“What if he takes knives to school? What if he threatens the lives of fellow students?” Tapper persisted.
“Then he… Then he goes to jail.” Israel responded.
“That’s not what happened!” Tapper asserted.
Finally, Israel responded, “that’s not possible in the PROMISE Program.”
Hat Tip to Bill P. for the research