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DESANTIS CALLS FOR GRAND JURY PROBE OF SCHOOL SAFETY

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of Florida’s deadliest school shooting, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the Florida Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate whether school districts are complying with mandatory safety measures designed to protect students. DeSantis made the announcement Wednesday, flanked by family members of the 17 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and staff gunned down last Valentine’s Day. Seventeen other people were injured in the massacre, which the governor called “one of the worst days that we’ve had in the history of Florida.” The statewide grand jury “is something that is real,” DeSantis said at a news conference inside the Broward County courthouse. “This is something that is very serious,” the governor said. “Whatever recommendations they have for us, we’re going to heed that.” Since taking office last month, DeSantis has taken a number of high-profile actions to address the horrific Parkland shooting. On his first week on the job, DeSantis suspended Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, accusing the law enforcement official of “neglect of duty” and “incompetence” related to the shooting. Israel is appealing the suspension, but a recently released report by a state commission found fault with the sheriff’s office’s handling of the attack by confessed gunman Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school with a long history of mental health problems. Angry parents and other critics — including Andrew Pollack, whose daughter, Meadow, was among the slain students — also called on DeSantis to oust Broward County Superintendent of Schools Robert Runcie. But the governor said he does not have the authority to remove the schools chief because Runcie is an appointed official. DeSantis, a Harvard Law School graduate, called a statewide grand jury “the best tool that we have” to explore possible wrongdoing by school districts throughout the state. The probe will be at least the third statewide investigation into the Parkland shooting, which is also the subject of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry.

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