Headed to one of Pasco County's high school graduations at the USF Sun Dome in May?
You might want to arrive a little earlier than you otherwise might have anticipated — to get through security.
Before entering the arena, all guests will be checked with a metal-detecting wand, according to a memo from the district office to principals. All purses and bags will be searched, and no backpacks will be allowed.
Bringing binoculars for a better view? A camera for some memories?
Don't bring the cases for those. They also won't be allowed.
"These safety precautions are new Sun Dome requirements designed to enhance the security of our graduates, their families and school personnel," assistant superintendent Betsy Kuhn wrote in her memo.
She told the principals to get information to families as soon as possible, to make sure they plan accordingly. Schools began sharing the information through social media early Monday. Graduations are scheduled for May 25 to 28.
VETERANS DAY: The Pasco County Republican Party is criticizing the school district for its decision since 2014 to hold classes on Veterans Day.
The party's executive committee recently adopted a resolution calling on the district to close for the holiday.
Superintendent Kurt Browning, who is an elected Republican, is pushing back. He originally called for students to attend on Veterans Day, so the schools could educate them about the role played by the nation's military men and women.
"These students have not a clue, in large part, what veterans are or the sacrifices they have made," he said at the time.
And he's taking a similar position now. In an email to GOP leader Randy Evans, Browning said he is convinced now more than ever that the need remains to hold ceremonies and lessons about veterans, rather than let kids stay home and play.
"Our intent has never been to dishonor any veteran or group of veterans," he wrote. "Quite the contrary, our efforts were to bring greater attention and honor to our veterans."
He ended by inviting Republican executive committee members to the district's 2017 celebrations, scheduled for Nov. 10.
NEW PRINCIPAL: Former Connerton Elementary School principal Aimee Boltze has been named to take over Trinity Elementary.
Boltze, most recently an assistant principal at Watergrass Elementary, replaces Cortney Gantt, who transferred to Seven Springs Middle School in early March. The appointment fills the final principal vacancy in Pasco County after a round robin of position swaps sparked by an unexpected death and a promotion.
Boltze was credited with improving Connerton's climate and performance after the contentious leadership of Anna Falcone, who resigned under pressure in 2013.
In the midst of personal problems, Boltze agreed to take an assistant principal job in summer 2016, with the understanding she might return to heading a school once her issues were resolved.
Contact Jeffrey S. Solochek at (813) 909-4614 or [email protected] Follow @jeffsolochek.