Anti-Democratic School Board Rule Protects Superintendent Robert Runcie From Criticism







There is a bizarre School Board rule that is not only anti-democratic, but also sadly typical of the bureaucracy’s thin skin.

Speakers can’t criticize Board members at their meetings.  The rule governing speech has been interpreted to mean that Superintendent Robert Runcie is immune from criticism by speakers, too.

Robert Runcie

Robert Runcie


The rule was explained to Fort Lauderdale activist Charles King at this week’s meeting. Then it was used as an excuse to silence King when he started to condemn Runcie.

School Board attorney Barbara Myrick summed up the rule controlling public speech like this:

“You need to speak only to the chair and not be calling others individually whether it’s Mr. Runcie or anybody else out.”


Fractured syntax aside, the intent of the rule as interpreted by Myrick and School Board Chair Rosalind Osgood is clear. No public criticism of the Lords of The Public Schools is allowed.

Never mind that the Board members and Runcie are spending public dollars. Never mind they are responsible for the public’s children. Never mind they voluntarily chose to be public figures.

Once they entered the school system’s glass and marble headquarters, they pulled up the drawbridge, filled in the moat and reinforced their castle with an anti-democratic rule against anyone criticizing them.

The rule pertaining to speech at the meetings is vaporous. It gives Chair Osgood wide latitude:

Speakers’ remarks should be directed to the presiding officer or the Board as whole and not to individual Board members, otherwise the speaker may be ruled out of order, and asked to yield the podium. Board Members will not engage in dialogue with speakers. The Chair may notify and warn speakers that their comments have gone beyond the subject matter for which they had signed up to address, address matters that are not related to the business of The School Board, or otherwise violate this policy. Speakers are advised to refrain from obscene or vulgar conduct, or slanderous remarks, or statements that tend to incite violence or the breach of the peace.



King was not directing his comments to individual Board members. He was sticking to “subject matter,” which was was discussing the need for an Inspector General. King said an Inspector General   would “look over Runcie’s shoulder.”

It was King injecting Runcie into the discussion that prompted Osgood, the Chair and a Runcie acolyte, to cut the microphone.

King got in a last dig at Runcie before walking away. He said Runcie “signed his own pink slip” by calling for blacks to support him against his white critics on the Board.

Runcie then jumped in to defend himself. wrote last week that “Runcie has called for African Americans to mob the School Board meeting next Tuesday, according to numerous school sources.The Westside Gazette, an African American newspaper, wrote an editorial calling on blacks to attend the School Board to support Runcie.

Runcie told the Board he never contacted The Westide Gazette. He did not say whether he contacted anybody else in the African American community.

The superintendent then attacked “blog” reports about him as having “no accountability” and “no relevance.” Although he was obviously referring to this site which King cited in his speech, Runcie did not mention by name.

“It is not a medium that in my view has any accuracy, impartiality that’s fundamental to the democratic process. I think that’s just irresponsible,” Runcie said. has no accuracy. None.


Readers, many of them inside the school system, can judge for themselves. reflect my views (and the views of those writing for the site).  That has never been a secret. In fact, it is written above on the masthead.

Runcie is inaccurate when he says “impartiality” is “fundamental” to the democratic process. Like much of the blather that erupts from his mouth, it sounds authoritative and credible. It is neither.

The framers of the Constitution were surrounded by a cacophony of partisan rants and a highly opinionated press. There were almost no impartial voices among them or among the public.

These Founding Fathers were under constant criticism by political enemies.   Still, when they wrote the Constitution they included Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. They knew that a marketplace of different ideas was the best way to insure good government.

So when Runcie invokes the “democratic process” to disparage his critics, it is only a cloak to cover his thin skin.

The School Board and Runcie say they believe in Freedom of Speech. Their treatment of Charles King proves that they only believe in approved speech – comments that don’t criticize Runcie or the members.





25 Responses to “Anti-Democratic School Board Rule Protects Superintendent Robert Runcie From Criticism”

  1. Runciesruined says:

    Buddy is right on target… Runice’s lies to the Board and thus the public have been exposed in recent board meetings and workshops. I for one have sat there and listened to him lie or respond with partial answeres which is intended to confuse or misrepresent the facts to the Board members who in turn vote based on the false information he provides. This is a fact and not a rumor thats out there. To think much of this began because of the unquaified person he chose to be in charge of investigations is just part of his issues…theres more to come… Resign dude…and take your on again off again resigned again staff with you. Its time to clean the slate Board members..that is obvious. When your presented with further information about Runice and his misdeeds you will have no choice but to act. You are being “watched” very closely…..dont get caught up in his BS which will absolutletly affect your standing within the voting community.

    A long time KCW employee who knows.

  2. Sam The Sham says:

    A few years ago it became law that municipalities must allow citizens to address each item on an agenda in a public meeting. Doesn’t this law also apply to the elected school board? Aren’t they breaking the law in censoring citizen’s free speech?


    They allow the public to address an item on the agenda. The Chair interprets whether the speech is off topic and I believe that power is abused to silence criticism of the individual Board members.

    Under past Boards, individuals were allowed to find fault with members and the staff by name. Gadfly Barnie Schlesinger lambasted members at every meeting. When he died, they had a moment of silence for him, as the Sun-Sentinel recalled:

    Anyone who’s ever been to a Broward School Board meeting knew Barney Schlesinger.

    Schlesinger was a vehement School Board critic and fixture at meetings until poor health prevented him from attending. Last week, he died of heart failure.

    Today, board members took time at the start of their regular meeting to remember him.

    “He was certainly devoted to following the process of the School Board and to following what he felt was the betterment of the children in this county,” board chairwoman Maureen Dinnen said, before a moment of silence in Schlesinger’s memory.

  3. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The brutal facts legally n practically that a Chair controls who speaks how long when and the perameters of what they can say.
    The CONSITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF FREE SPEECH DO NOT COME INTO IT and I dare anyone to find a Consitutional Rights Case where a Federal Court ruled a Speaker or would be Speaker at a Public Meeting Public Hearing had a Constitutional Right to speak when the Chair of the event ruled against an appearance subject matter or wordage.

    While cases have been successfully fought that public bodies did not give sufficient legal notice or meetings where held in inaccessible times places conditions that violated specific Laws or Statutes or Ordinances none limited the actual control of the meeting by Chairs.
    PLEASE IN 2003 2004 2005 LAWYERS LOOKED AT HOW A MAYOR COULD PREVENT ME FROM TESTIFYING AT PUBLIC HEARINGS n MEETINGS after I reported his campaign was illegally lobbying the assistant City Manager in Miami Beach and NOT ONE MIAMI-DADE or BROWARD LAWYER including the most famous civil rights lawyers could find a basis nor could lawyers in the State Attorneys or US Attorney for South Florida or Attorney Generals Office in Florida.
    Public Speaking at Public Events IS SUBJECT TO THE CHAIR.
    I had 20 000 in cash for a lawyer in 2005 to litigate this issue n told it would take 73 000 to go thru the Florida Courts n end up with at best a court ordered mediation that would end up with the Chair of meetings still in Absolute control. Only in limited circumstances where an elected body overrules its chair is there any limitatiion.
    Its despicable BUT THE REALITY IN FLORIDA.

  4. Need more says:


    While I respect your views and enjoy this website, knowing what I do of Charlie King, it would serve everyone better if there was a link to video of the exchange mentioned above.

    Charlie King has been known to make what some may say incendiary comments at public meeting in Fort Lauderdale Commission meetings that some may even view as racist. I would be curious of the tone and the exact language used by Mr. King in this exchange.

    Mr. King’s emails one topics such as race have been previously chronicled here

    I am a firm believer in the First Amendment, but when it comes to the infamous Mr. King, I can understand the need for restraint, especially if there were children in the room.

  5. juliet hibbs says:

    They want to spin everything…LOL I knew he was referring to you, but I baited the bear about mine. They believe they should be praised for the waste of money, child abuse, ect. Notice in support, you get extra time to speak. Notice if you criticize or ask questions they dont like Osgood turns off the mic and throws you out!

    “When the people fear the government, we have tyranny. When the government fears the people, we have liberty” Thomas Jefferson

    Sadly, there is no justice or due process in Florida or Broward Schools. No one should have no accountability. No one cares about the kids abused. Staff abused for years and this WILL lead to abuse of the children. How long can staff be oppressed? On the phone yesterday, still trying to get a COMPLETE copy of my case from 5 years ago. SIU secretary told me her supervisor told her I would have to make a request and an appointment. hundreds of requests. Any way, I said may I have the name of your supervisor and she told me no. I dont want to get into trouble. FOR telling me who refused. That is when I began to look into and question if Jill Haring was still in Broward Schools Police…answer YES!

    Sad to watch. And to the gentleman that asked WHY I wasn’t there to promote African American small businesses. I do that by using small business. My issues and the reason RUNCIE and Osgood wont ever be off my radar, that would be all the ACTUAL crimes against staff and students that gets covered up every single day.

    Now, I have the time to research them, policies, ect. 4 years ago I ONLY spoke during Public Speaking. Watching all the staff, students and parents abused made me begin to talk there too. Then all the financial disasters and games to pretend it is fine.

    Well, I guess that she will silence people UNTIL Dr. Nathalie Lynch-Walsh is elected. She knows what is going on and will NOT say she is new and still learning for 4 years. reminder Staff has 90 days to figure out the job!

  6. freedom says:

    We never missed or needed Barney more.

  7. Cargo Shorts & Flip Flops says:

    Charlie King is a buffoon who rarely knows what he is talking about. The best thing you can do with Chucky is to let him rant and embarrass himself and his family.

  8. Roger Moore says:

    any intelligent speaker would know how to work around this rule, this is not rocket surgery, these people on the board might be bright enough to understand innuendo, I’m not sure.

  9. Talks like a politician says:

    Typical dirty politics. Attack and demean the messenger. When Runcie finally takes his good-by payout and shuffles back to Chicago, the SBBC needs to take an extremely serious look at the person who will replace him. For decades, competent people who are already on the payroll have been overlooked. The students in Broward County schools have 180 days to complete a school year. The nincompoops that have been in charge of their education have years to muck it up. Time for a paradigm change.

  10. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @3 – Trying to assert constitutional rights in state court is often a recipe for failure. You should have approached the situation with a federal lawsuit in mind.

    Courts have also been wary of laws, rules or regulations that prohibit criticism or personal attacks against government officials. A federal district court in California invalidated a school district bylaw that prohibited people at school board meetings from criticizing school district employees. In Leventhal v. Vista Unified School District (1997), the court wrote: “It seems clear that the Bylaw’s prohibition on criticism of District employees is a content-based regulation. … It is equally clear that the District’s concerns and interests in proscribing public commentary cannot outweigh the public’s fundamental right to engage in robust public discourse on school issues.”

  11. Charles King says:

    Well I’m glad a news outlet picked up on what transpired and passes for “business as usual” at the Broward County School Board and District. The severely limited speech code being enforced by of all people the School Board Attorney is completely unconstitutional, un-American and attempt to turn the dais into “a safe place” for politicians and public officials. That it is considered out of bounds and off limits to in a civil way criticize the job performance of an elected official or public official at a public meeting on an item dealing with whether or not the School Board should contract with the Office of Inspector General to look into all the mismanagement and scandals. I didn’t hijack an unrelated item like the Westside Gazette’ Bobby Henry, I waited 6 hours to speak on the appropriate item and was thoroughly muzzled by Ms. Osgood and Ms. Myrick for patience. It makes me wonder if the Office of Inspector General will be permitted to use their names either in his reports or ask impertinent questions? Well for those that worry about the rapidly diminishing right of Americans to petition and criticize their increasingly corrupt government, I am happy to announce that I am signed up as a speaker at the June 15th School Board Meeting to speak on “Limitations of Speech Before the School.” It will surely be interesting to hear what I plan to say, and even more interesting to see if they allow me to say it. And no, I will not be reading an excerpt from “The Emperor’s New Clothes” but it would certainly be appropriate highlighting the folly of self-censorship, group think and the management’s discretion to go on making really bad decision simply because they are management.

  12. Raymond Dettmann says:

    I believe the School board is breaking the law to censor/Control a Member of the public to speak at a public meeting the right to express there views/concerns in the way they able,

    And for Charlie King I have observed and had conversations many times with Charlie over the years and I have told him
    I am thankful he take the time to attend these public meetings I feel his efforts make our Democracy safer and stronger and many times I believe he has save’s / or avoided wasting some tax dollars that the public pays and I have listen from home on TV when they broadcast the public meeting and observed Charlie brings other view points on the issues being discussed that has not been considered and frankly at times just common Sense to the issues when sometimes it appears the public officials and Staff are lacking.

    I believe the way the School Board Chair is controlling the members of the public that wish to speak should be reported to the Governers Office &State Attorneys office

  13. Tell the Truth says:

    we need a legal challenge to this latest gag order from SBBC. Our property taxes pay for their ENTIRE operation. And the $800,000,000.00 bond sitting on the shelf while the SBBC dallies since Nov. 2014 on school repairs and improvements. As to the criticism of Charlie King, that must be the mayor of the city harping on him. Just like Runcie the mayor has contempt for anyone who challenges him or disagrees with him. He is gone in 22 months. Term limited. Runcie has till 2019.
    If not for Charlie many would not know what is going on and how mismanaged and poor their decisions are. And @10 Ha Ha Ha is correct – the first amendment is a federal court challenge.
    Thank you Broward Beat for the soap box.

  14. Juliet Hibbs says:

    @ Raymond Dettman The governors office has told me that Runcie’s boss is the school board and they wont interfere…The State Attorney and Attorney Generals office both state an entity needs to bring the action. Tried in to take it to court….couldnt get one attorney to help me even get a copy of my case from Broward Schools Police. The FDOE told me that there is no office or place to take it and the FDLE told me that Broward Schools Police investigate themselves and Runcie! Called USDOE…nothing DOJ NOTHING. It is why the only thing I know how to do to expose all the child abuse covered up in schools is blog, video and speak at the board meetings. I dont know what else to do….but sticking to it has made others see. Because I wont go away, it is not so easy to dismiss my claims. Someone guilty would not do this for 4 to 5 years

  15. Chaz Stevens, Genius says:

    >> I am a firm believer in the First Amendment, but when it comes to the infamous Mr. King, I can understand the need for restraint, especially if there were children in the room.

    Bullshit … and/or fuck off. There’s no kids in that room, after waiting six hours to speak. And, if there were, the parents should be jacked up for abuse.

  16. Candy Niel says:

    Well at least we won’t have to worry about Jillian being silenced at the board meetings anymore….first she resigns, then rescinds her resignation and now resigned again….they need to take that piece of paper and run with it this time, get it on the next agenda. BCSB fits right in with “Flori-dah!” We are the laughing stock of the State. Where else can an ESE teacher take over the SIU Dept, causing 2 officials to leave; get extra hours each day while on “task assignment” big no no according to SB policy…..and all with no experience….amazing! And why is the file “missing” of Runcie’s former chauffer, bodyguard and bldg manager..maybe the investigation will move forward and the file will, like magic, reappear, since his buddy is now gone!

  17. tom James says:

    Count Chock:
    There are numerous US Supreme Court cases and Federal Appeals Court cases which codify the right of speakers to be free of any infringement upon their rights to mention names of individuals.
    If the ACLU were to file suit against the Broward Board the Broward Board would LOSE. Miami Dade has tried the same shenanigans and has been beat down. They know what they are doing is illegal but we are going to ensure it is their ultimate destruction.

  18. tom James says:

    Runcie is a buffoon brought in from Chicago by Debby Wasserman Schultz.
    His only credentials were he played pickup basketball with Obummer and Arne Duncan.
    The guy is totally incompetent and never had any business being a superintendent or holding any position over public education.
    Broward is currently being investigated by the feds and state for misappropriation of Title I funding. Add to that the school police overspending their budget by $3.5 million, ineptitude in the school bond issue contracts, back pay owed to teachers over the aborted extra period class assignment, etc, etc and it clearly shows Runcie and the current board must be terminated asap. Osgood is a tool of the black community where we get so many of these legally and ethically challenged politicians like Miriam Oliphant and Mandy Dawson. Osgood has an opponent and we will get her out. We are working on getting rid of DWS. Tim Canova is an excellent candidate and well positioned to send Debby packing. Then we will go after other incumbent school board members. Runcie is on borrowed time. He won’t be around much longer. Once the final federal and state audits hit, he’ll be terminated with cause.

  19. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    16 n 17 Tom James is simply WRONG. Out of State n out of Federal District Cases are useless in South Florida EVEN IF THEY EXIST WHICH I DOUBT based on multiple Miami-Dade n Broward County civil rights attorneys in 2005.
    Moreover as I pointed the LEADING CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY OPINED A LAWSUIT WOULD IN 2005 COSt ME PERSONALLY 73 k or more and for political reasons any South Florida Judge would order NON BINDING AND THEREFORE WORTHLESS MEDIATION.
    I GO NUTS READING THEORETICAL STATEMENTS THAT IN THE REAL WORLD ARE WORTHLESS except to some multi-millionaire who gets a decision YEARS AFTER THE FACT (such as the North Bay Village “victory” where the plantiff had been harassed to move out of town in the meantime).

  20. juliet hibbs says:

    @Candy….when did she reresign She was still working at SIU on Wednesday…when I discussed it on FB Still hoping to find an attorney to help me compel those text messages from the meeting in late April….she messaged and took notes so that makes them public WHO was feeding her the information

  21. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Charlie King again(see what I mean).Ok, Charlie has the right to speak at any given podium. I think chair Osgood should have let him speak. Now he by his own admission is doing a delegation in reference to him being shot down. Give him his three minutes and move on. He does make a valid point w/ the mismanagement at the school bd. My advice to Charlie put on a suit, stick to the issues, no name calling and don’t bring up this encounter, move on. Bring data, documentation to support your views. Do this and you will be quite effective. If you go to that podium w/ the intent to insult or to harass you will clearly face the same reception. Again, all thi s time Charlie has to do all this, I envoy him in this regards. Me w/ those gerber babies he has, I would be w/ those children 24/7. You are lucky Charlie and don’t even know it. Be professional , courteous , etc. Don’t be a wise guy. Good luck…..

  22. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    @17 Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has not been linked to Dr Runcie’s hiring on this blog or any other one or in print as far as I know. The members of the School Board overwhelmingly HAVE NO TIES TO TO CONGRESSMEMBER here in Fort Lauderdale.
    Apparently the leftwingers behind Bernie Sanders invent allegations about people they know NOTHING ABOUT.

  23. juliet hibbs says:

    @ Count, Please DO NOT refer to MR. Runcie as DR. Runcie And ALL of Broward Politics seems tied or the POLICE could not be used at weapons against those speaking out!


    Robert Runcie has an MBA, not a doctorate.

  24. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Am I to understand one of the largest school systems in the US is headed by an MBA?
    I frankly am astounded. Heaven knows how Rosalind Osgood got a PhD – I cant imsgine what her thesis could be like in subject matter and research sources – BUT FRANLY I HAVE NEVER MET THE HEAD OF A COUNTY OR MAJOR URBAN SCHOOL SYSTEM WITHOUT A

  25. juliet hibbs says:

    Blame the School Board!