Fair Day endures in Hillsborough
Despite strong words from Andrew Joseph Jr., whose son died after being ejected from the Florida State Fair, the Hillsborough County School Board approved a calendar for 2014-15 that gives kids week days off for Fair Day.
Those days will be Feb. 6 for students in west Hillsborough and March 2 for students who live in and around Plant City, which celebrates the Strawberry Festival.
Andrew Joseph, III was killed by a passing vehicle along Interstate-4 after dozens of unruly teens were sent out of the park on Feb. 7.
Although Andrew attended a private school, assistant superintendent Lewis Brinson said that when officials discussed safety improvements, they all considered that "we lost a child."
The improvements are extensive. Parents will need to accompany students at night, those who are on suspension will not get free tickets, a public awareness campaign will take place in advance of the fair day, and there will be layout changes in the fairgrounds to discourage crowds from congregating in one place.
Volunteers, coaches and school security officers will help keep order. There might even be a temporary detention center inside the fairgrounds where students can wait, supervised, until their parents arrive.
"We understand that we cannot afford to tolerate this kind of behavior at the fair or in our schools," Brinson said.
Joseph wanted the day renamed "Family Day" to encourage families to attend with their students, instead of having them spend the day unsupervised.