A former administrator at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has retired early, in the midst of a Broward school district investigation about his role in last year’s shooting.Jeff Morford was an assistant principal at the school when the massacre that took 17 lives and injured another 17 people occurred on February 14, 2018. He has been accused by a state commission of failing to help prevent such a situation.Morford had signed up for a deferred retirement program last year and was planning to leave in 2023, according to district records. However, his last day was September 4.Lisa Maxwell, executive director of the Broward Principals and Assistants Association, says he decided to retire early as a result of “overall trauma” from the massacre. She adds, “He’s been re-traumatized over and over again. He’s just done.”According to Maxwell, prosecutors in the criminal case for killer Nikolas Cruz have required the former assistant principal to repeatedly watch video of the shooting, which killed coach and security monitor Chris Hixon, with whom Maxwell was good friends.The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission, which is still investigating the tragedy, concluded that Morford had mishandled a September 2016 threat assessment of Cruz, who was a student at the school at that time.A 2018 report from the commission states that Morford was not competent in such tasks, and had never handled such evaluations during his 31-year career.Assistant Principal Denise Reed told the commission, “Jeff is old school. He only did operations. He never did any discipline at where he was at his previous location and so Jeff said: ‘I don’t even know where to find a threat assessment.’”A student told the commission that he and a classmate warned Morford that they were concerned about Cruz being a school shooter, since Cruz had reportedly looked up guns on a school computer, pretended to shoot birds on campus, and alleged that he liked seeing people in pain.The student said that Morford and a deputy did not seem concerned, and that Morford told the student to Google “autism,” implying that Cruz had the condition.The report adds, “Morford told the students that Cruz was being sent to alternative school and they did not need to worry.”The commission asked the district to investigate how Morford handled the threat review. Upon finding that Morford’s inability to answer detailed questions did not seem credible, they hired a law firm to review his actions, as well as those of two other assistant principals and a security specialist. Former Principal Ty Thompson was added to the list last March.Runcie informed the commission that the investigation should be finished later this month or next month.The administrators were transferred to new jobs this summer. Morford had been serving as an assistant principal at Coconut Creek High School, but was reportedly not able to avoid the daily stress caused by the shooting.In addition to his administrative duties, Morford opened a bar in Pompano Beach last summer called the Axe Throwing Society. It features 14 ax-throwing “lanes” that look like fenced-in batting cages, where customers can fling lightweight axes at wooden targets.
PHILADELPHIA >> The night started with Kobe Bryant receiving loud cheers and performing as if Father Time never became an issue. But it ended with the 37-year-old Bryant showing his age and the Lakers showing their ineptitude.The Lakers hit a new low in a season full of them. They lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 103-91 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center, an outcome that handed the Sixers their first victory after 19 games and soiled Bryant’s last game before a hometown crowd that suddenly loved him. It also raised questions about the Lakers (2-15) amid a six-game losing streak and the worst record in the Western Conference. Will the 37-year-old Bryant ever figure out how to manage his health? Bryant finished with 20 points while shooting 7 of 26 from the field and 4 of 17 from 3-point range in 31 minutes. He has attempted 16 or more 3-pointers only two other times in his 20-year NBA career. Bryant lamented his legs stiffening up on him despite altering his routine on when to stretch, take ice baths and lift weights. Yet, Bryant maintained he will try to play as many games as possible, including today’s game in Washington. “I’m not going to save myself for pickup basketball at Equinox in December. I’m going to play,” Bryant said. “I’m not coming back to these venues anymore. God willing, I’m healthy and I can walk and run, I’ll be out there.”Will Bryant ever change his shot selection? Bryant made three of his first four shots within the first two minutes. That sparked Bryant to say, “I’m just playing possum because I know my legs can’t carry this energy for 48 minutes.” That sparked Lakers coach Byron Scott to say, “I was hoping he could keep it up.” But after ending the first quarter with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, Bryant missed 14 of his next 16 shots. Scott conceded Bryant took some 3-pointers that were “ill-advised.” But the coach quickly said, “I didn’t do a good job” in setting Bryant up for shots in the mid-post. Yet, Bryant also shot a few airballs and even attempted a left-handed layup that just hit the backboard. “I do trust he’ll get to a point where he will make them on a much more consistent basis. But it’s just not happening yet,” Scott said. “There’s going to be some games like that where you live and die with it. You just hope you don’t die too much.”Will the Lakers’ patience with the team’s X’s and O’s wear thin?No one in the Lakers’ locker room criticized Bryant’s shot selection. Guards Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young actually defended it. But Clarkson, Young and Lou Williams all lamented the team’s struggles with making adjustments.“We have to make the game easier on (Kobe) instead of trying to iso,” said Clarkson, who had 19 points on 9-of-19 shooting. “We can get screens for him. We put more emphasis on that instead of having all eyes on him the whole game, that’s taxing.But what will it take for that to happen?“You can’t blame (Kobe). He takes a lot of shots. But it’s everybody,” Young said. “From the coaches to the players, we have to get on one page and on the same page. I can’t tell you why that’s not happening right now. All I know is the circus came to town today and we did what we normally do.”The circus featured an extra element in Philadelphia. Bryant’s first road game since announcing his retirement happened to be his hometown, which he admitted became a “cherry on top” and partly planned. He had sparked boos during the 2001 NBA Finals and the 2002 NBA All-Star game, but the overwhelmingly partisan Lakers crowd cheered and yelled his name during starting lineup introductions.Bryant then met his high school coach, Gregg Downer of Lower Merion High, and Sixers luminary Julius Erving at center court. Then, Bryant was presented with a No. 24 Lower Merion jersey. After the game ended, Bryant touched his chest twice near his heart and waved to the crowd as he walked off the court. “They got me. I wasn’t expecting that,” Bryant said. “It was emotional. I’m deeply appreciative beyond belief.”Then Bryant spoke in a bizarre press conference where non-media members asked him questions after drinking beverages. Others told Bryant they loved him. Bryant soon thanked reporters when the press conference ended. The vibes in the Lakers’ locker room were not as pleasant.“We’re a circus,” Young said. “We’re playing terrible. We lost to Philly. Philly! What does that make us?” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. New Psychiatric Diagnostic Manual Released Long-awaited update of “the psychiatrist’s bible” has stirred controversy.Marketplace: How Much Is The DSM-5 Worth?Controversy has dogged the new DSM-5, what people like to call “the psychiatrist’s bible,” and it won’t even be officially released until this weekend. Really, the book is a manual clinicians use to diagnose and classify people with mental illness. While it sounds pretty dry, there’s a whole lotta drama around this book. The federal government has questioned its value. … some practitioners are boycotting it and there are charges that it’s not ready for prime time. Before I say anything more about the DSM-5, here are a couple of facts about the DSM IV. It’s 19 years old and it still brings in about $4-5 million a year (Gorestein, 5/17). Reuters: Psychiatrists Unveil Their Long-Awaited Diagnostic ‘Bible’The long-awaited, controversial new edition of the bible of psychiatry can be characterized by many numbers: its 947 pages, its $199 price tag, its more than 300 maladies (from “dependent personality disorder” and “voyeuristic disorder” to “delayed ejaculation,” “kleptomania” and “intermittent explosive disorder”) (Begley, 5/17).Medpage Today: APA Leaders Defend New Diagnostic GuideThe fifth edition of the “psychiatrist’s bible” was officially released here in all its 947-page glory, with its developers offering a spirited rebuttal to their critics. Known as DSM-5, the new version of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was launched at a press briefing to kick off the organization’s annual meeting. Most of the changes from the previous edition had already been made public, at least in general outline (Gever, 5/18).McClatchy: Child Mental Health Disorder Rising, Cost Society $247 Billion AnnuallyUp to one in five American youngsters – some 7 million to 12 million by one estimate – experience a mental health disorder each year, according to a new report billed as the first comprehensive look at the mental health status of American children. And the rate is increasing, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which produced the study, released Thursday (Pugh, 5/16).