Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

John Hopkins Middle School calm, two officers added in wake of recent arrests

As a temporary, precautionary move, interim Pinellas superintendent John Stewart ordered two additional police officers to John Hopkins Middle School Monday. But he said after a morning visit that the campus was calm and parents had nothing to worry about.

"As I viewed it, it probably wasn't necessary," Stewart said of the additional officers. "But if you make a mistake, it's better to be … on the side of caution."

Stewart's actions came after three students were charged with battering their teachers at the St. Petersburg school within a week.

The spike in violence was a flashback to problems that dogged Hopkins during the 2009-10 school year, when police made more than 100 arrests and besieged teachers begged the School Board for help.

Under principal Barry Brown, appointed by former superintendent Julie Janssen, the school seemed to make a turnaround last year. Arrests dropped to 57. Its school grade rose from C to B.

Brown downplayed the recent arrests. He told the St. Petersburg Times Friday that he didn't really have any concerns about discipline. He also said initially that there had been two arrests in the past week, only one of which was charged as a battery.

Stewart spoke with Brown at the school Monday. He said Brown indicated there was a misunderstanding in terms of the time frame involving the arrests. Stewart said he was giving Brown the benefit of the doubt.

Brown "wants nothing but the best for that school," he said. "He's trying very hard to make that come true."

But Stewart also offered advice for other principals who may be asked about the occasional flare-ups at their schools.

"Be as straightforward as you can. Give the facts on the issue," he said. "That way, you don't have to worry about anything …because the facts are the same every time you're asked, no matter how you're asked."

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

John Hopkins Middle School calm, two officers added in wake of recent arrests 10/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders

    Cooking

    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Forecast: Soggy, yet hot, workweek ahead across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    A soggy workweek is ahead across Tampa Bay as decent chances for scattered storms remain consistent over the next several days.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Travel ban, Kennedy retirement speculation the focus as Supreme Court prepares for break

    Courts

    WASHINGTON — Before taking their long summer break, the Supreme Court justices are poised to act on the Trump administration's travel ban and a separation of church and state dispute involving a Missouri church playground.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, shown in 2007, has given no public sign that he would step down this year and give President Donald Trump his second high court pick in the first months of his administration. Kennedy's departure would allow conservatives to take firm control of the court. [Associated Press]
  4. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more

    Blogs

    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  5. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights

    Fire

    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.