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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Fellowship staff are trained in Hillsborough County

28

April

Fifteen adult representatives of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes were trained Monday in the do's and don'ts of faith-based partnerships in the public schools.

Monday's workshop came in response to last week's relevation that David Gaskill, who worked part-time for the organization, was proselytizing regularly at five Hillsborough County high schools despite a lack of training and two criminal convictions on his record.

At the training, some -- but not all -- of the 15 were screened and cleared to return to the schools. The list is included in this letter from the district. The letter indicates that Gaskill was one of the 15. He was not cleared.

Participants were instructed in a variety of ways they can assist students.

As guests of the Christian organization "Huddle," they can attend meetings of students. But they cannot attend regularly. And, although the students are free to pray, the adults cannot lead or direct the prayer. Nor can anyone on staff at the school lead or encourage prayer.

Adults also can visit schools at the invitation of teachers and administrators. In those cases, they must make sure their activities and remarks are secular and neutral.

"The district is careful that all of our actions are lawful and respectful of others," wrote Alberto Vazquez, chief of staff for the district.

Separate training sessions will follow for coaches and other school employees who interact regularly with outside volunteers. The Tampa Bay Times has been given permission to attend one of those sessions, and will report on that process.

 

[Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2016 10:58am]

    

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