NAACP Warns Removing Runcie Would Be ‘Highly Political, Racist’

As pressure mounts for Robert Runcie to step down or to be removed from office, one civil rights organization is stepping in to show their support for the Broward County Superintendent.

Adora Obi Nweze, the president of the NAACP Florida State Conference, said if Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Runcie as Superintendent, the organization believes “this would be an extreme overreach, highly political and racist,” the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Community leaders and organizations rallied at the school board’s monthly meeting Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale to show support for Runcie.

“The whole situation doesn’t look good that you got a lot of angry white parents from Parkland that were victims of this horrendous crime that is now going at a black Superintendent,” said one supporter, Wayne Barton.

Parents of Parkland victims tweeted their disagreement.

“Dear NAACP, do not make this about race,” Fred Guttenberg said. “My daughter and 16 others were murdered on his watch. This is about the Superintendents. I was supportive of him at first, but not any longer … he needs to resign.”

“Criticism of (Runcie) is neither political or racist,” Andrew Pollack said. “Our concern is for the safety of ALL Broward students and teachers. To suggest his competency can’t be questioned is in fact racist.”

Runcie told NBC 6 he wants to keep his job and continue to work for the community he loves.

“Everywhere I go, people come up to me and they are appreciative of the job we’re doing in Broward County,” he said. “They understand it’s a difficult time and the only way to move forward is for the community is ultimately going to have to come together.”

DeSantis conceded he likely cannot fire Runcie, although he may put pressure on the school board to do so. At least two school board members say they would terminate his contract.

Meanwhile, emotions ran high for one school board member at Tuesday’s meeting.

Board member Robin Bartleman alleged Runcie and staff purposefully scheduled an MSD public safety commission meeting the same night as a ceremony to honor Lori Alhadeff’s daughter Alyssa, who was killed in the Parkland shooting.

“Am I crazy that our staff wouldn’t call her and schedule her to show up at a town hall meeting the day of a religious ceremony for her daughter? That is sickening,” Bartleman said.

Runcie said he wasn’t aware of the ceremony and would have rescheduled it.