David “Cobra” Clemente and Fredrick Romero Davis being honored by parents last May. Photo by Sharon Aron Baron.

By: Jill Fox

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson has given the only remaining Guardian Angel David “Cobra” Clemente, 60, of Tamarac,  two-weeks notice to end his presence at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The Broward County Schools Public Information Office confirmed Thompson did ask a Guardian Angel to remove his encampment, which is located outside the Parkland school’s gates and stated that the individual is not an employee of the school or the District.

“Cobra’s dedication, comforting presence and support has been a valuable asset to our students and community,” said Angela Smith Weber, an MSD parent. “These efforts were recognized by Mr. Thompson’s presentation of the Eagle award to Cobra and the Guardian Angels.”

Weber mentioned that some parents took to social media to complain about how they are no longer comfortable with the Guardian Angels’ presence at the school. However, there is another group of parents that appreciate his being there and want him to stay. With this, she felt that it was important for school officials to hear the opinions of all of the parents at MSD and started a petition to reverse Thompson’s decision and allow Cobra to remain at the school.

“Parents have confidence in Cobra keeping his eyes and ears open at the school,” said Meredith Barry, parent of a senior at MSD. “They feel that his presence gives them peace-of-mind,”

Cobra’s departure is disheartening and it sends the wrong message to the MSD community said Barry. The kids can’t handle it, and Cobra deserves a proper farewell after volunteering his time everyday since February 14.

According to the Sun Sentinel, one of the Guardian Angels, Fredrick Romero Davis, 50, a fitness trainer in Coral Springs, was barred from all school district campuses after Coral Springs police said he is the subject of a criminal investigation.

District Spokesperson Cathleen Brennan said, “Safety and security remain the District’s highest priorities. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has a security team comprised of 15 team members. In addition, the City of Parkland has three school resource officers/deputies assigned to the school.”

In a story by CBS4, Cobra courted controversy last week with a Facebook post where he stated “There is a big drug problem at Douglas high school. Drugs are being taken and drugs are being sold inside of the school.” Cobra said that MSD students brought the problem to his attention.

Parkland Talk

Some advocates for Cobra feel that he was asked to leave because of posting these drug accusations on social media. At a SAC meeting on October 9, Barry said that most of the meeting was spent discussing Cobra.  She said that they were told that Cobra was dismissed because he failed to pass a Level 2 Security clearance. 

Ilana Soffer, a senior at MSD feels that Cobra’s presence doesn’t make much of a difference at the school.

“Parents have different opinions than the students that actually have to attend Douglas. If I had an issue, I would definitely go to one of the Broward Sheriff’s Officers that I see throughout the day. The Guardian Angels are not trained in law enforcement like BSO.”

Petition to keep Cobra here:  Change.org

Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co., a leading full-service public relations firm. Fox worked as the Digital Marketing Manager for NBC Miami, and represented NBC Universal by acting as the Operations Manager for the South Florida Region of GE Women’s Network. A true Floridian, Fox grew up in Ormond Beach, Florida and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Advertising from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.