ST. PETERSBURG — The unfolding story about student discipline problems at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg has touched a nerve — and not just with teachers, parents and School Board members.
The St. Petersburg Times reported Monday about chaotic conditions at the school, including the arrest of more than 60 students so far this school year. The Pinellas County School Board responded Tuesday by directing superintendent Julie Janssen to explore ways to more quickly remove chronically disruptive students from all district schools.
Hopkins students themselves are weighing in with letters to the editor. (Click to download PDF.)
Some say the newspaper should note positive things about the school, too. Some say they're glad that a spotlight is being put on the school's problems. Here's a sample:
• "Everyone at school is freaking out like they're proud of what they've done. I hate how these kids think they're cool for such an unreasonable crime. Some days I feel afraid of what the next day will be like. … I'm so tired of this school and its crime."
• "If you wrote more stories about this issue, it might just help. I'm always worried about someone beating me up or stealing my bike every day!"
• "Nobody wants to come to this school because of what they hear. Writing this story is just putting our school down. It's not helping anybody. I think that this story is just egging on more students to perform negative behavior, because they feel really cool — because their school is in the paper, they might think, 'Oh, I want to be in the paper.'?"