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    Broward County School Board Asks Judge to Hold Sun Sentinel in Contempt for Publishing Confidential Info on Shooter

    Broward County School Board Asks Judge to Hold Sun Sentinel in Contempt for Publishing Confidential Info on Shooter

    “The School Board alleges the newspaper intentionally published information it knew a judge had ordered to be redacted.”

    https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/964107290885402624

    The Broward County School Board is not happy.

    They’re claiming the Sun Sentinel published information it knew was meant to remain confidential in order to protect the privacy rights of shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.

    The report published by the Sentinel Friday alleges the Broward County School District failed to provide the special education accommodations Cruz requested and may have misstated his therapeutic educational options.

    Fuzzy Slippers covered the Sentinel’s initial report extensively here.

    Publication of alleged district missteps led the Broward County School District to ask a judge to hold the Sentinel in contempt.

    The Broward County School Board on Monday asked a judge to hold the South Florida Sun Sentinel and two of its reporters in contempt of court over the publication of a report about the Parkland shooter’s years within the school system.

    The School Board alleges the newspaper intentionally published information it knew a judge had ordered to be redacted.

    After a judge’s order, the school district publicly released the report Friday with nearly two-thirds of its content blacked out to protect 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz’s privacy rights. But the district used a method that failed: Anyone could copy and paste the blacked-out report into a Word document to make all the text visible.

    Sun Sentinel reporters Brittany Wallman and Paula McMahon, acting on a Facebook tip from a reader at 7:30 p.m., discovered on deadline the concealed text could be viewed. The reporters quickly rewrote the story reflecting the entire report, providing the first detailed account about the school shooter’s years in the school system, what the district knew about him and what mistakes were made.

    The court filing alleges the Sun Sentinel knew what information was supposed to remain confidential because it had attended court hearings about the release of the report and agreed that certain material could not legally be disclosed.

    “They opted to report, publicly, information that this court had ordered to be redacted despite agreeing, on the record, that this information was protected by both Florida and federal law,” said the pleading, filed at 4:46 p.m. in Broward Circuit Court.

    Sun Sentinel Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson said the events surrounding the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High, which left 17 dead on Feb. 14, are of “the utmost importance to our community” and it is the paper’s duty to provide that information to its readers.

    The redactions removed specifics of the killer’s history in the school system — and in the process removed details of mistakes the district made in handling him.

    “After consulting attorneys about the situation, and realizing the school district had made the full report public, we published a second story that gave more context to the report’s findings,” Anderson said.

    The school board, in its filing, alleges that “regardless of how they obtained the unredacted version of the report” the Sun Sentinel and its reporters knew there were court orders in place to ensure that certain information was not publicly disclosed.

    Lawyer Tom Julin, an attorney not involved in the case, but who has represented the Miami Herald believes Broward County has no case, according to the Sentinel.

    “The Sun Sentinel is entitled to publish the information that it lawfully obtained even if that information should have been redacted from the document that was released.

    “It looks like the School Board just made a mistake and is trying to deal with its own mistake by asking that the Sun Sentinel be held in contempt,” he said. “But the School Board has absolutely no basis to make that request.”

    School district officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday evening despite emailed requests.

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    Comments


    This is simply another gigantic screw-up by the BCSB which they are trying to lat off on another party to cover their own a**es. There were valid privacy concerns with regard to Cruz’s school background. But, the BCSB also had concerns over its own handling of Cruz’s educational needs. The redacting was therefor done for two reasons, only one of them having to do with Cruz’s interests. But, the method used to accomplish the “redaction” was flawed and could be undone, within the released document, using simple, generally available means. It was the electronic equivalent of covering portions of the document’s text with opaque Scotch tape. Now, in an effort to 1) protect itself from responsibility for privacy rights violations, with regard to Cruz and 2) stop the further dissemination of unflattering information concerning its own actions with regard to Cruz, pre-shooting, it seeks to have a media organization held in contempt of court.

    Make no mistake about the responsibility for the MSDHS shootings. Though the Shriff’s Office may have missed opportunities to complicate Cruz’s ability to carry out the shooting, the entire responsibility for it rests with the BCSB and Cruz. Cruz was the one who carried out the attack and injured and killed the people at the school. But, the BCSB was directly responsible for the lack of security there. This year, the BCSB is desperately trying to pass a bond issue to increase security at schools, including hiring armed guards. Unfortunately, they have tied a teacher raise into this issue. And, they have yet to utilize the $104 million dollars that they received in the 2014 bond issue, which was directly earmarked for school security. [http://thehill.com/opinion/education/382560-exclusive-broward-countys-100-million-failure-on-school-safety] One wonders exactly what the district is spending some $2.4 billion dollars a year on.

    “They’re claiming the Sun Sentinel published information it knew was meant to remain confidential in order to protect the privacy rights of shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.”

    “privacy rights of shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz??” The smell of desperation is rife on this one.

    If you shoot up a school and mass murder 17 people, you’ve pretty much lost your privacy concern facts leading up to the crime. Whether a newspaper or court room, the facts will become public.

    WTF is wrong with Broward County?


     
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    CaptTee | August 8, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I am glad they asked the judge to help cover up the failure to follow the law before election day.

    I hope the people of Broward County vote out all those running for reelection this month!

    If the judge allows this cover up, then he should removed from the bench for aiding in corruption!


     
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    Gremlin1974 | August 8, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    So it would seem that they handled this document release with their usual level of confidence.

    I don’t see the difference in this and them having accidently released an unredacted copy to the paper. If they asked for the unredacted copy back they would be told to go pound sand as well.


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