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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Gibbs principal: Campus is safe and improving despite increased arrests

The high number of student arrests at Gibbs this year is not reflective of the day-to-day atmosphere and is a sign of a school addressing problems instead of letting them fester, says Gibbs High principal Kevin Gordon.

"You have to say, no one turned their back on that ... and pretended that didn't happen," Gordon told the Gradebook.

Gordon was briefly quoted in today's St. Petersburg Times story about student discipline issues. The story mentioned that Gibbs had, according to police data, 119 physical arrests this school year, more than any other school in St. Petersburg. It also noted that at least 45 of those arrests were for warrants or probation violations, and that it's unclear how many involved on-campus incidents.

"You can come and look any time," Gordon said in the story. "The campus is safe."

According to Pinellas school district data, Gibbs had 91 arrests for on-campus incidents through March 12, up from 24 in 2008-09 and 14 in 2007-08. (We'll be asking St. Petersburg police for updated data through the end of April and will share it with you when we get it.)

Gordon said there are several reasons the numbers are up, including a new school resource officer with a "change in philosophy." He also said he's addressing problems in a way that sets a tone and pays off in the long run.

"The lunchroom runs smooth. The class changes run smooth. It really is a great place to be," Gordon said. "I know that kind of sounds crazy, but we're addressing it. It's like if you look at our referrals for cell phones, they're up this year because we're addressing it."


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:00am]


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