Parkland Shooter’s Teacher Saved His Documents in Case They Were Needed

The eighth-grade teacher of the Parkland shooter was disturbed enough by the student’s troubling schoolwork to keep a copy for future reference.

Five years before Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018, he was an out-of-control student at Westglades Middle School who scribbled swastikas, curse words, racial slurs, and homicidal stick figures shooting each other in the notebook he used for Carrie Yon’s language arts class.

Parkland Shooter's Teacher Saved His Documents in Case They Were Needed
Parkland Shooter’s Teacher Saved His Documents in Case They Were Needed

Yon was aware from the moment she met Cruz that he was going to be a problem, so she documented every contact they had very carefully. At one point, she informed Cruz that she knew he could behave and was a wonderful kid because she wanted him to act better. The retort he gave was frightening.

What Cruz really meant was, “I’m a bad kid,” and he told her as much. Say it with me now: “I want to kill!”

On October 23, 2013, less than five years before his shooting spree in Parkland, Florida.

Yon testified through Zoom that she was aware that Cruz was a special education student with an EBD diagnosis and a speech pathologist. However, the things he said and wrote disturbed her to the point that she kept a diary of their interactions and dozens of pages of his writings and drawings. She eventually turned them into the school administration.

She informed the jury that she was terrified by his actions. When she voiced her displeasure to higher-ups, she was advised that he should be at school since he deserved it.

He drew two swastikas and scribbled other obscene comments on one page of his notepad, including “N is for n—. The letter B is for b——. “A” is for “anus,” The phrase means, “F—- America.” As in, “I despise this nation.”

He created stick figures at the page’s bottom, armed with guns and exchanging fire.

The phrase “No need to fear the sex boat is arrived” appear in a narrative he drew with a girl and man stick figure.

He made several scathing comments about her in an assignment, including, “I loathe you. In a word, I despise the United States of America. Life stinks. Death and suffering are all it gives. “There’s no need in trying to live.”
After Yon inquired about his homework one day, he swore at her and called her a sexist slur. On another occasion, he declared, “I despise security. I really, really, really, really, really hope they perish. She called security to have him removed from class after he yelled the f-word two days later. On some days, he would literally storm out of her classroom shouting.

Yon’s testimony that she recognized Cruz required more assistance than he was receiving is hardly unique. The defense has succeeded in showing that the therapy and treatment Cruz had been getting since he was 3 years old was ineffective by promoting the idea that he needed help at every stage of his life.

This failing cannot be used as a mitigating circumstance by his defense attorneys per court order. The jury may consider his mental health and the long record of disturbing behavior.

Yon detailed multiple instances of Cruz’s “insubordinate” and inappropriate behavior, including his cursing at other pupils and teachers. He once had the entire class outside for a fire drill and, upon seeing an approaching automobile, ran into the street, only to chuckle as his teachers yelled at him to get out of the way.

After lead defense attorney Melisa McNeill raised an objection to prosecutor Jeff Marcus contacting a defense witness hours before he testified on Thursday afternoon, tensions between the two sides escalated. McNeill asked for a break of 24 hours, but Judge Elizabeth Scherer did not grant it.

An ex-Westglades principal named John Vesey testified in court on Thursday that he was contacted by Marcus and a lawyer Vesey knew. Apparently the men were worried that his testimony would “negatively affect individuals within the Broward County School District,” as Vesey states in his affidavit.

Vesey stated that he was uneasy and tense during the phone chat. Moreover, he said he was coerced into keeping quiet. Vesey testified under cross-examination that the other attorney, not Marcus, made the remark about the significance of his evidence.

Marcus claimed the defense was taking an overly literal interpretation of the exchange. As the lawsuit progresses, the question will almost certainly come up again.