PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — An elementary school principal whose daughter was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre says her school district lacks empathy and transparency.
April Schentrup’s daughter Carmen was one of 17 killed. She told school board members that the district tried to dock her pay for missed work after her daughter’s death. She said the superintendent also told her it was not a part-time job when she tried to ease back into work. And she says no one on the school board sent condolence letters or called her, until nearly three months after the shooting, the day after she signed up to speak at Tuesday’s meeting.
The Sun Sentinel reports school board members quietly listened and didn’t respond.
Her husband, Philip Schentrup, said Superintendent Robert Runcie did come to their house and offered sympathy — while also defending the district’s actions.
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“A week after my daughter was murdered, Mr. Runcie came to my house, sat at my kitchen table, told my wife and I the school district had done everything right,” he said. “That was an outrage, given I was burying my 16-year-old daughter.”
The couple also said that the Stoneman Douglas principal refused to meet with them to talk about security. The Schentrups said the school gates were open 20 minutes before dismissal on the day of the shooting, and no one was there to monitor it. They said that violates the district security protocol.
“I believe the district is dragging its feet, not because it did everything right as stipulated by Mr. Runcie, but because it did so many things wrong,” Philip Schentrup said.
After the meeting, School Board Chairwoman Nora Rupert said she was heartbroken.
“I feel partly responsible, because I thought the district, a School Board member, someone would have sent notes,” she said. “I know I wrote some notes and went to funerals, but there are no words. I wholeheartedly apologize for my part.”
School district spokeswoman Tracy Clark said the district reinstated April Schentrup’s pay for time off through March 30 and approved a leave of absence that will have “the least impact” on her leave time.
Clark said the district has increased the law enforcement presence and conducted a threat assessment of schools.
“The district is aware that as a community we all must adjust to a new normal, and we are working to do so appropriately and with compassion,” Clark said.
Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/