Monday, May 21, 2018
Education

Hillsborough district will support grant application to hire school-based deputies

TAMPA — It's been a moving target since Dec. 14: What is the best way to keep the Hillsborough County public schools safe, and who should pay for those efforts?

A possible answer appeared Tuesday in the form of a letter from Sheriff David Gee. Join me, he suggested, in applying for federal money to hire 24 school-based deputies.

The School Board voted unanimously to go for the grant.

Money would come from the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services office. It would pay an unspecified amount up to 75 percent of the cost of hiring deputies for three years.

It's not known how much the school district would pay, or what would happen when the three years are up.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said that by supporting Gee's application for the grant, she is not committing the district to accepting it if the terms are not favorable.

The district has wrestled with security questions ever since the December school shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Shortly after the killings, the Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department assigned patrols to elementary schools, primarily during arrival and dismissal times. But their commitment was not intended to last beyond this school year.

A multimillion dollar plan by Elia to beef up the district's own security force was rejected in January by a skeptical board.

Since then, officials have been discussing their alternatives with a security consultant.

Board member Candy Olson said she hopes that, though the new deputies would be law enforcement officers, they could take more of an educational role in the elementary schools.

"Our elementary schools need help with kids who have behavior problems," she said. "These children come in with no knowledge about how they're supposed to behave in school, or very little knowledge."

Gee indicated in his letter that experience of the last five months has demonstrated the need for security.

At least twice, he wrote, the deputies have held off intruders who appeared to be armed.

Less noticed, he wrote, was "the important connection between the deputies and the thousands of young children that resulted from informal encounters every day."

The application is due May 22, and Elia is also consulting with police Chief Jane Castor.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or [email protected]

Comments
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Updated: 5 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18
The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children, the result of cuts to federal welfare programs, according to a new research paper.In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every chi...
Published: 05/17/18
Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

ST. PETERSBURG — Sarah Agee and her friends never pictured themselves wearing Crocs to their graduation. But the foam shoes were comfortable, offered better footing than heels, and now the Seminole High seniors had a story to tell.It all started a li...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18