Nikolas Cruz’s teacher reveals harrowing notes about his ‘dangerous’ behaviour years before Parkland shooting

Carrie Yon says she did not feel safe around Cruz, who was in her class at Westglades Middle School

Abe Asher
Friday 02 September 2022 13:55 BST
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Nikolas Cruz’s eighth grade teacher has revealed in court her detailed notes about the risk she feared he posed to those around him years before he carried out the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Cruz pleaded guilty last October to murdering 17 people and wounding 17 others at the high school in 2018 and is now in the midst of a sentencing trial that will determine whether he is sentenced to death or to life in prison.

On Thursday, the jury heard from language arts teacher Carrie Yon that Cruz expressed violent ideation during his eighth grade year at Westglades Middle School – and that Ms Yon tried to warn others that she was concerned about what Cruz was capable of.

“I strongly feel that Nikolas is a danger to the students and faculty at this school,” Ms Yon wrote on a close functional behaviour assessment form at the time.

“I do not feel that he understands the difference between his violent video games and reality. He is constantly showing aggressive behavior and poor judgment. His drawings in class show violent acts (people shooting at each other) or creepy sexual pictures (dogs with large penises). He has pretended to masturbate in class, he uses foul language and disregards everyone around him.”

Ms Yon stated at the conclusion of that comment that she would “like to see him sent to a facility that is more prepared and has the proper setting to deal with this type of child”.

In another note, she wrote that Cruz needed to be in“a special school with smaller classrooms and locked doors”.

Despite her concerns and recommendations, the school simply made a plan to help deal with Cruz’s behaviour that consisted of more incentives and more verbal compliments. Ms Yon detailed in notes that she thought the plan was insufficient and did not address the main issues.

Throughout her testimony, Ms Yon recalled Cruz as a deeply troubled student who consistently struggled with anger management, antisocial behavior and an obsession with violence.

His classwork became “increasingly inappropriate” over the course of the school year, she testified, with the court shown an essay assignment in which Cruz had detailed his plan to create a “sex boat” with crude drawings of stick figures with genitals.

Ms Yon said that she did not feel safe around Cruz and felt “very uncomfortable” around him even on their very first meeting.

“I immediately thought something was kind of up,” she recalled of the first time she met Cruz.

“You know, I put him on my radar to watch him...keep an eye on him.”

His behaviour worsened over time, she said, and she kept detailed notes of some of the most concerning incidents.

In one incident, Cruz dressed as Spiderman and was removed from the classroom.

“NC came to class late due to the fact that he had a dresscode violation (he came dressed as Spiderman). NC came in with a lot of energy,” she wrote in the notes.

“He had to take a makeup test and was having a hard time focusing. I moved his seat and he began testing but asking a lot of questions and he continued to talk with a “baby voice”.

“I asked him to stop talking like a baby and he continued to do so. Then NC dropped his materials on the floor and shouted out “f***.. I called security and had him removed.”

Ms Yon became so concerned that she sought legal advice and often had another teacher join her in the classroom when Cruz was there.

Ms Yon said she attempted to communicate the gravity of the situation to Cruz’s parents, but said that his mother would make excuses for his behaviour and at times reward him by letting him play video games at the family’s home. A former Parkland neighbor, Paul Gold, testified earlier in the trial that Ms Cruz was afraid of her son.

Ms Yon said she believed that Cruz was trying to get expelled from Westglades, a public middle school in Parkland that sends a number of students to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School each year.

Cruz eventually left Westglades and went to Cross Creek School in Parkland which specialises in educating emotionally or behaviourally disabled students.

On Valentine’s Day 2018, Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman armed with an AR-15 and murdered 17 students and staff members in one of the deadliest school shootings in US history.

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