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Tear down those walls



Kstarkey Kathryn Starkey hates fences.

She thinks they're ugly, and pointless, and completely at odds with the public nature of the public schools. People should be playing on playgrounds, after all, not looking at them from the outside.

So every time she has the chance, the Pasco School Board vice chairwoman pushes her colleagues to remove the chain link enclosures that surround the district's campuses. Like this week. On Tuesday, Starkey pointedly noted that even Blake High, in a low-income area of Tampa, survives without a fence.

"What they do is so different from us," Starkey said of other districts, adding a mention of more suburban Lakewood Ranch High in Manatee as another example. "I hope we can talk about this."

Most board members don't know exactly who gave the green light for the fences, which started popping up after Columbine and gained momentum again after 9/11 and then after the Jessica Lundsford Act kicked in. But they do see them, and they haven't taken a stance whether they dislike them as much as Starkey does.

"It's excess. You're actually keeping good people who would be out there on the playgrounds from keeping watch over the schools," said Starkey, who seemed willing to abandon her push for school uniforms if a good fence razing effort would emerge instead. "I'm on the war path against the fences."

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:22am]


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