Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Parent complaint prompts Pasco middle school to clamp down on slapping prank

LAND O'LAKES — Tonya Thompson realized something was bothering her eighth-grade daughter as she drove the girl to swimming practice after school on a recent Friday.

It took some prodding to get her shy, quiet child to offer any details. What Thompson heard shocked her.

Some boys had introduced her daughter to "slap ass Friday" during gym class at Pine View Middle School in central Pasco County. The name is self-explanatory.

"They did not touch my daughter," Thompson said. "Just the fact that they threatened to do so is horrible to me. And it happens to her friends."

The practice has cropped up in schools across the country since 2006, when it first appeared in the Urban Dictionary. School officials in Corpus Christi, Texas, were disciplining students for the same thing last month after parents there demanded action.

In 2011, a Houston middle school had to counsel and discipline students participating in "slap-butt Fridays," while a Greenville, Mich., middle school suspended some students for their actions in what they called "National Slap People's Butt Day" in 2007.

Thompson, who said she's as outspoken as her daughter is retiring, called Pine View Middle that afternoon to complain about what she considered sexual harassment. After a cooling-off weekend, she sent an email on Nov. 18 to Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning, urging him to stop the problem in its tracks.

"Sexual assault is a big deal and I do not see why this is not being dealt with swiftly and harshly," she wrote. "This should not be an ongoing problem. There should be harsh consequences taken immediately. It is not all fun and games, nor a joke. Girls this age have enough problems dealing with their changing selves and young boys as it is."

Browning turned to Pine View principal Jennifer Crosby, telling her to deal with the issue "if this is in fact occurring." Crosby acknowledged its presence on her campus and told the superintendent she was dealing with reports as they came to her. "It is not a situation that we take lightly and will continue to address until the negative behavior is extinct," she wrote.

The morning after Thompson's email, Crosby addressed students during school announcements, telling them to behave appropriately.

A check of other school districts in the Tampa Bay area found no other reported incidents of "slap ass Friday."

Schools need to be a safe environment where children can learn, explained Molly Blair, a Pasco school district psychologist who oversees prevention programs. Students learn from the earliest grades that they should keep their hands to themselves, she noted.

"At every developmental level, it's important to remind students about personal space and boundaries," Blair said. "You don't have to accept unwanted touching from others."

The message is critical in the middle school years, she said, when students are undergoing many social and physical changes and challenges.

Thompson, whose daughter got in trouble for hugging in school as a sixth-grader, said she was pleased that school officials had taken steps to punish any wrongdoers.

"It's not funny," she said.

The incidents have been isolated, Crosby said in an interview. Still, she added, the talk needed to happen so students would understand the gravity of unwanted touching.

At the same time, Crosby added, the message had to come with the proper approach. She said many students might never have heard of the activity, and the last thing the school wants is to highlight it.

"You have to be really careful," she said, noting the name alone could set students off. "They're middle-schoolers."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at

Parent complaint prompts Pasco middle school to clamp down on slapping prank 12/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man turns himself in for Sunday hit and run fatality

    Public Safety

    A Tampa man was arrested early Sunday after he struck and killed a pedestrian, left the scene, and then called 911 to turn himself in.

  2. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Bucs, Jaguars both get blame for terrible preseason ratings

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst of a weekend in televised sports.

    Worst matchup

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Brian Dixon (41) and safety Barry Church (42) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) JVS119
  3. Hernando County Sheriff's Office: Deputies shoot suicidal woman who brandished shotgun


    BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County Sheriff's deputies shot a woman they believed to be suicidal after she pointed a shotgun at them Sunday, according to a police report.

  4. Trump administration disbands federal advisory committee on climate change


    WASHINGTON - The Trump administration has decided to disband the federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment, a group aimed at helping policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government's climate analysis into long-term planning.

    President Donald Trump. [Associated Press]
  5. Blake Snell shines as Rays beat Mariners to end skid (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell delivered the best outing of his young career and the Rays offense continued its home run-hitting ways for a 3-0 victory Sunday against the Mariners in front of 13,354 at Tropicana Field.

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) with starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) after the top of the seventh inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.