The Journal Gazette
Thursday, April 22, 2021 1:00 am

Schoolhead faces perjury allegation

Accused of lying about '18 massacre

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The superintendent of the Florida school district where 17 students and staff died in a 2018 high school massacre was arrested Wednesday after investigators said he lied to a grand jury investigating events surrounding the shooting.

Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie was arrested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at district headquarters and charged with perjury in an official proceeding, which is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

According to an indictment issued by the grand jury last week and released after Runcie's arrest, the superintendent lied when he testified before the panel three weeks ago, but it gave no specifics about the alleged falsehood. The jury is investigating whether districts are following school safety laws, including those implemented after the Feb. 14, 2018, slayings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

The grand jury, which was empaneled two years ago, is also investigating whether:

• Public agencies are using state safety grants for other purposes.

• Broward school officials misappropriated millions of dollars from a bond measure partially aimed at improving campus safety.

• Officials intentionally underreported on-campus crimes committed by students.

Since the shooting, Runcie and district administrators have been accused by critics of lying about school crime rates and discipline problems.

To prove perjury, prosecutors must show Runcie knew his statements to the grand jury were false and not just a mistake.

Attorneys for Runcie, 59, released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying he plans to plead not guilty.

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