Embattled Harvard-trained J'can educator leaving Broward County job after perjury charge
Jamaica in the WorldSaturday, May 08, 2021
By Harold G Bailey
NEW YORK, USA--Jamaican-born Robert W Runcie, the embattled superintendent of Broward County, Florida, public schools, is on his way out from his position after being charged with perjury, news reports said.
Runcie who migrated from Jamaica at an early age, was once revered as one of the top school administrators in the United States, winning awards as superintendent of the year on several occasions.
He has faced criticism since the 2018 mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland which left 14 students and three staff members dead. Runcie was indicted on a charge of perjury stemming from his testimony during investigations into a US$17-million technology deal struck in the aftermath of the shooting incident.
The Associated Press said his agreement to step aside came shortly after the release of a video statement in which his attorney suggested that politics was behind what was taking place and vowing that his client would be vindicated.
According to the AP report, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis had taken office pledging to hold Runcie accountable in the Parkland shooting incident.
A grand jury was subsequently empanelled which eventually led to the indictment of the school superintendent for perjury, after the panel's work veered into other areas of the administration of the school district.
News reports said that some board members - who included two parents of students killed in the Parkland incident – preferred to have the superintendent placed on leave while others wanted him out.
"I cannot put myself above the needs of our district," AP quoted Runcie, who has been three years in the job, as saying. "We are unfortunately in a climate where forgiveness, compassion and love far too often take a back seat to grievance, anger and hate."
At least one other person who was indicted in the matter has reportedly resigned and Runcie is said to be locked in tough negotiations for severance pay.
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