Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Debate about Islamic group's visits to Hillsborough schools flares up again

TAMPA — If members of the Hillsborough County School Board thought they had put controversy over a Muslim speaker behind them, they were wrong.

More than a dozen who oppose school appearances from the Council on American-Islamic Relations attended Tuesday's board meeting, some asking the board to call for a workshop and others displaying signs on the sidewalk outside that said, "Welcome to Tampastan."

The group included Kristina Gionet of the Pinellas Patriots, who said, "I guarantee that if CAIR comes across the bay, we will stop them at the Howard Frankland Bridge."

The issue arose late last year when conservative activist David Caton called attention to a visit to Steinbrenner High by Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa-based Islamic group.

At the Jan. 24 board meeting, chairwoman Candy Olson scolded an angry crowd for criticizing a teacher trying to broaden horizons.

On Tuesday, when she again rose to the defense of teachers, she was met with a loud chorus of boos.

Board member Stacy White, acknowledging many of the anti-CAIR speakers live in his east Hillsborough district, made a motion to schedule a workshop that would include presentations from CAIR and the Education Coalition, a group of conservative organizations that has mobilized over the issue.

He met resistance from member Doretha Edgecomb, who didn't want CAIR singled out. "It's Islam today," she said. "Tomorrow it may be the NAACP, or somebody else."

Olson, similarly, said she worried that teachers would be afraid to teach about the Holocaust, the Vietnam conflict or other topics that might appear controversial. "I've had some teachers say, 'I don't want to be the next target,' '' she said.

While agreeing to broaden the topic of the workshop, White insisted that the public be allowed to speak at it. White's motion failed 5-2, with Susan Valdes siding with him.

In other action, the board agreed unanimously to take a closer look at how public money is allocated among the district's schools.

Valdes, who has raised questions about the distribution of federal Title 1 antipoverty money, said she'd like to see something similar to a spreadsheet that tracks funding in Seattle public schools.

The board directed staff to report on the feasibility of such a system by the end of March.

.fast facts

Principals named

• David Sheppard, former assistant principal of Wharton High, replaces Chris Farkas as principal of Freedom High. Farkas was promoted to principal coach.

• Barbara Fillhart, principal of Sligh Middle School, replaces the retiring Nancy Trathowen at Mann Middle.

Debate about Islamic group's visits to Hillsborough schools flares up again 02/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining

    CLEARWATER

    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.
  2. Gov. Rick Scott appoints 'my friend' Jimmy Patronis as state chief financial officer

    Blogs

    Gov. Rick Scott on Monday appointed a long-time friend and political supporter, Jimmy Patronis, to replace Jeff Atwater as Florida's next chief financial officer, making him one of three members of the Cabinet that sets state policy on a …

    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO
  3. Officially official: Malik Zaire, Jake Fruhmorgen join Florida Gators

    Blogs

    It's finally, officially official: Malik Zaire has joined the Florida Gators.

  4. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Nation

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  5. June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series.