Broward County School District


Here’s an interesting piece about an effort by the Broward County School District to have the Florida Sun Sentinel Newspaper held in contempt of court.  According to the Broward School Board, the Sun Sentinel had the temerity to publish information the Board provided it.

In response to a court order, the Board released a report on the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.  The Board, however, redacted about 2/3 of the report, ostensibly to protect the privacy rights of the shooter – Nikolas Cruz.  The Board, however, didn’t realize that the portions it blacked out became visible when the document was copied and pasted into a Word document.  Two Sun Sentinel reporters, who discovered the information, published otherwise blacked out material as part of their reporting on the incident.

The Board now wants the court to hold the paper in contempt for, apparently doing its job.  The Board contends that since the Sun Sentinel had attended the hearing where the court permitted the redactions, it was bound not to report on information the Board released.  That of course, is not the law.

Anyone who legally acquires information concerning a matter of public interest can publish it.  The reporters weren’t wearing masks and brandishing guns when they copied the documents.  And the report surely concerns matters of great public interest.  Including information about the mistakes the Broward County School District made in handling the shooter.  Which is likely the real reason the Board is so upset.

But the fault lies not with the newspaper, but with the Board.  And it’s likely the court will dismiss the motion.