Mavericks High in Homestead was rocked by violence and grief this week. First, 16-year-old Danny Cruz was shot and killed by a police officer at a Homestead gas station. Then another Mavericks student, 17-year-old Jeremy Perez, was accused of bringing a gun to school "for protection." On Tuesday, Perez was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and resisting arrest.
The clashes with police brought renewed attention to a school that was the subject of a New Times investigation last year. Mavericks is part of a chain of charter schools designed to serve at-risk students who would otherwise drop out. It's run by a for-profit company, Mavericks in Education Florida, headed by Frank Biden, the vice president's brother.
But the schools -- particularly the Homestead campus -- have been plagued by problems since they began opening in 2009. Last year, two former employees filed whistle-blower lawsuits alleging that the Mavericks in Homestead inflates attendance records, alters grades, and does not offer standard Florida high school diplomas. Mavericks officials have denied the allegations.
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Florida Department of Education records show Mavericks High in Homestead graduated just 4.5 percent of students in the 2010-11 school year. In fact, none of the Mavericks schools has managed to graduated even half its eligible students. To read New Times' in-depth investigation of the Mavericks chain, click here.