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. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us


    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida education news: School grades, teacher pay, transgender lawsuit and more


    SCHOOL GRADES: Florida's school grades showed improvement as the state's revised accountability system entered its third year in its current form. …

    Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates her school's A grade with students in a summer program at the school.
  3. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland



    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.
  4. Faulty AC leaves Chinsegut manor house, supporters steaming

    Human Interest


    As summer temperatures climb, volunteers at Chinsegut Hill Manor House say a faulty air-conditioning system has put them in a hot spot.

    Thomas Hoops of Tampa, left, takes a breather with his 1-year-old daughter, Zoe Hoops, on the porch of the Chinsegut Hill Manor House.
  5. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)


    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.


    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez