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Lori Alhadeff is open to school board members being removed from office, pending grand jury report

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Lori Alhadeff was elected to the Broward County School Board after her daughter Alyssa was killed during the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

One Broward County School Board member says she’s open to seeing some of her colleagues removed from office — based on the findings of a grand jury that investigated the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the Florida Supreme Court to convene the panel to investigate the shooting and what could have prevented it. Seventeen people were killed and 17 others were injured in the massacre.

The grand jury’s long-awaited final report has not yet been released publicly, but a recent court filing revealed that the panel is recommending that Gov. Ron DeSantis relieve some board members of duty.

“The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shook our state to its core,” Judge Edward Artau wrote in a June 15, 2022 opinion. “[W]e conclude that the statewide grand jury did not exceed its subject matter jurisdiction in conducting its investigation and issuing a report of its findings, including its recommendation that the Governor should 'remove' or suspend certain school board members.”

Broward County School Board Member Lori Alhadeff was elected to the board after her daughter Alyssa was killed during the shooting.

“I support holding people accountable,” Alhadeff told WLRN. “If the information comes out that certain school board members should be removed to hold them accountable, then I think that's important.”

Five current members of the Broward County School Board were in office at the time of the shooting, including the chair — who is not running for reelection this year. Four of those members have been seen as supporters of former Superintendent Robert Runcie, who was indicted on a felony perjury charge for allegedly lying to the grand jury. Runcie has pleaded not guilty.

According to the Sun Sentinel, some school board members were among those petitioning the court not to release the grand jury’s final report.

In his June 15 opinion, Judge Artau denied that request, saying only two paragraphs of the report “must be repressed” because they include allegations of criminal conduct that are outside the scope of the grand jury’s jurisdiction.

Under state law, the governor is empowered to suspend county officers for “malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, drunkenness, incompetence, permanent inability to perform official duties, or commission of a felony.” The Florida Senate can hold hearings on whether to reinstate a suspended official.

Kate Payne is WLRN's education reporter