Many seniors won't graduate because of FCAT
With graduation less than a month away, hundreds of Pasco County high school seniors still need to pass the exit-level FCAT. Just 21 percent of the 432 12th-graders retaking the reading section passed it, while 30 percent of the 162 students retaking the math section were successful. A year ago, 19 percent of seniors retaking the reading test and 43 percent of those retaking the math portion passed. Students must pass both sections in order to receive a standard Florida diploma. They had five chances, beginning in their sophomore year. They may substitute their ACT or SAT results, if they attain a score set by the State Board of Education. In past years, the students would have had another chance to take the test over the summer, but the state eliminated that exam session as part of budget cuts. If the students have completed all their other graduation requirements, they will be allowed to participate in commencement, scheduled for May 29-31.
Couple charged with child abuse
Deputies responding to a call Wednesday about two unattended infants found the adults in the home had passed out after taking prescription drugs, according to a report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Michaela Larson, 35, and Christopher Lazarski, 34, were both charged with child abuse. The girls, age 1 and 11/2, wore dirty diapers and their bottles were filled with warm, sour milk, the report said. Residue from crushed pills was on a dresser, within their reach, the report said. Lazarski told deputies he was prescribed the medication for pain from a car accident; Larson told deputies she took her boyfriend's pills for stress. Lazarski and Larson, both of 13814 San Juan Drive, remain at the county jail. He is being held in lieu of $3,500 bail. She also faces charges of violating her probation and is being held without bond. Authorities did not say who is now caring for the two girls or their relationship to the couple.
Free physicals for grades six to eight
All current sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Pasco Middle students can get a free sports physical from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Pasco High School's Don McBath Activities Center, 36850 State Road 52, Dade City. Students must be accompanied by a parent and bring a copy of their birth certificate.