A principal who lost her daughter during the Parkland shooting took on her school district
April Schentrup’s daughter Carmen was one of the 17 people killed during the horrific Parkland shooting. This week, she stood in front of school board members and outlined the inappropriate, cold, and calculated ways that she was treated, both as a professional (she’s a principal at a local elementary school) and as a human being.
There are several repulsive ways that the school district treated Schentrup. Let’s start with the immediate aftermath of the shooting. The principal and her husband, Phillip Schentrup, said that Superintendent Robert Runcie only had his professional interests in mind when he addressed the grieving parents.
“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,” Schentrup said, per Sun Sentinel. “That was an outrage, given I was burying my 16-year-old daughter.”
Really? How about “I’m so sorry”? How about “What can I do to help?” There are literally so many other things Runcie could have said — and taking blame away from the school district is definitely not one of them.
The rest of the school board members didn’t do much better. Schentrup said that she didn’t receive any messages of condolences, save for “an email blasted to the entire district saying the mass shooting would be lumped as one tragedy for insurance purposes.”
It keeps getting worse after that. Schentrup took some time off work to grieve, and when she returned she was told by Runcie that “this is not a part-time job.” Oh yeah, and the school district tried to dock her pay for the days she took off after her daughter died. School information officer Tracy Clark says the district has since reinstated Schentrup’s pay for all of the time she took from February 15 through March 30.
The Schentrups also noted that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High violated policy on the day of the shooting, by leaving school gates open and unmonitored twenty minutes before dismissal. When the couple tried to talk to the school’s principal about this security issue, they said that they were shut down.
In response, the school board claimed that they’re making an effort to help Schentrup and that they’re working to increase law enforcement officers at schools.
“We can only share that Superintendent Runcie and district officials have met with and remain in communication with Ms. Schentrup regarding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy and to provide information on how the district can continue to support her and the demands she faces returning to work,” Clark said, per Sun Sentinel.
That’s definitely not enough for Phillip Schentrup.
“I believe the district is dragging its feet,” he said. “Not because it did everything right as stipulated by Mr. Runcie, but because it did so many things wrong.”