DeSantis suspends Broward County School Board members in wake of grand jury probe

In a move that further solidifies his reputation as a fearless and decisive leader, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday suspended multiple members of the Broward County School Board, as The Hill reports.

According to the outlet, DeSantis’ action was prompted by the findings of a grand jury probe of the 2018 mass shooting event at Parkland’s Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.

School board suspensions announced

The governor’s decision was formalized in an executive order suspending board members Patricia Good, Donna Korn, Ann Murray, and Laurie Rich Levinson from their positions.

That order cited a provision of the Florida Constitution permitting the governor to “suspend from office…any county officer..for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.”

Under that constitutional authority, DeSantis followed a recommendation from the 20th Statewide Grand Jury to initiate the suspensions due to the board members’ incompetence, neglect of duty, and misuse of authority in connection with the aforementioned shooting and its aftermath.

Specifically, the governor noted that the grand jury found that a safety alarm that would have prevented deaths during the events in question had not been installed at the time and is still uninstalled in multiple school facilities under the board’s jurisdiction.

In the words of the jury, “[s]tudents continued to be educated in unsafe, aging, decrepit, moldy buildings that were supposed to have been renovated years ago,” as The Hill noted, and that, according to DeSantis, is evidence that they have “failed in their responsibilities and duties to the parents and stude3nts of the Broward County Public Schools… .”

“Inexcusable” conduct

In a press release announcing the executive action, DeSantis described the actions – or lack thereof – on the part of the four now-former school board members as “inexcusable” and accused the individuals of showing “a pattern of emboldening unacceptable behavior, including fraud and mismanagement, across the district.”

Offering further elaboration on the reasoning behind the move, DeSantis added, “It is my duty to suspend people from office when there is clear evidence of incompetence, neglect of duty, misfeasance or malfeasance.”

“The findings of the Statewide Grand Jury affirm the work of the Majory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Commission,” the governor continued. “We are grateful to the members of the jury who have dedicated countless hours to this mission and we hope this suspension brings the Parkland community another step towards justice.”

With the suspensions taking effect immediately, DeSantis also swiftly made four new replacement appointments to the Broward County School Board, namely, Torey Alston, Manual Serrano, Ryan Reiter, and Kevin Tynan.

The school board suspensions are just the latest impressive example of DeSantis’ unwavering quest for the accountability the citizens of Florida deserve, coming closely on the heels of the governor’s suspension in early August of progressive State Attorney Andrew Warren for his stated refusal to enforce laws with which he disagrees.

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