Elementary principal leaves suddenly
Parents of Lacoochee Elementary School students got a surprise letter from superintendent Heather Fiorentino this week telling them their longtime principal Karen Marler "will not be on campus for a short period of time," effective immediately. Officially, Marler was to report to the superintendent's office Tuesday to work on district class-size compliance. District spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli would not provide any more details about the sudden reassignment. In Marler's absence, Centennial Elementary principal Cynthia Harper will serve as visiting principal, leaving Centennial in the hands of assistant principal Heather Wallen. Harper is "an experienced educator, and I am confident she will work to ensure the individual needs of all students are met during Ms. Marler's absence," Fiorentino wrote. Marler became principal at Lacoochee, serving one of Pasco's poorest communities, in late 2004. During her tenure there, the school has earned mostly A's and B's in the state grading system, though this past year it dropped to a C.
Students can text concerns to police
Students can now send anonymous text messages and e-mails to Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay whenever they are concerned about bullying, abuse or other potential crimes. "Every student deserves a safe environment to learn," said Pasco Sheriff Bob White at a press conference Tuesday at Land O'Lakes High School. White said the initiative has been online since August and has already received tips from Pasco students. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said she wants Campus Crime Stoppers to be a preventative measure — so authorities and faculty deal with threats of fights and other incidents before violence occurs. "There is no call that is unimportant," White said. People with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect can get cash rewards. The toll-free hotline is 1-800-873-TIPS (8477). Send Internet tips to crimestopperstb.com and text messages to CRIMES (274637), keyword CSTB.
One killed in Ridge Road car pileup
One person was killed after a four-car pileup on Ridge Road near Galen Wilson Boulevard about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday. A dump truck headed east on Ridge Road failed to slow down and slammed into the back of a yellow pickup, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The pickup then plowed into a black Mustang, which crashed into a black sport utility vehicle. The driver of the yellow pickup was pronounced dead at the scene, FHP said. Authorities have not yet released the names of anyone involved.