Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco revisiting safety precautions for special needs students

LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County school district officials are revisiting their procedures for dealing with missing or endangered students with special needs.

The issue came to the forefront in recent weeks after two high-profile student deaths in Hillsborough County.

"We have an urgency and want to move this forward very quickly," special education director Melissa Musselwhite said. "This gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we have in place and what we can improve on."

The Pasco district has had many preventive strategies in place for years, Musselwhite said. Those include:

• Coordinated team scheduling at schools, to account for the roles and responsibilities of all adults.

• Delayed lock emergency doors, which sound an alarm and do not release for 20 seconds, in several ESE classroom pods. Schools use inexpensive Radio Shack alarms on some windows and doors, as well.

• Individual school crisis intervention plans.

That doesn't mean that the efforts don't need constant attention and additions, Musselwhite said.

She plans to convene a safety work group in January, including representatives from the district office, schools and parents, to take a look at how to deal with missing students and a wide range of other related safety issues.

Already, her department has met with sheriff's deputies to discuss guidelines that will meet the needs of law enforcement. It also has discussed the models already in place at schools, in search of best practices, while also inquiring about needs.

Those conversations have resulted in such things as added communication radios for one school, and the recognition of the need to install "no-climb" fencing at another.

Talk has now turned to what types of training the district has for its employees, and how it can be provided to all who need it. In addition, the district is considering whether to run practice drills on reacting to runaway or missing students.

The new district working group would address these and other subjects as it moves forward.

School Board vice chairwoman Alison Crumbley, who began voicing concerns about district operations soon after Hillsborough's woes emerged, said she was impressed with Pasco's ongoing work. "They have obviously done in-depth research. They are looking at everything very comprehensively," Crumbley said. "I am very confident in what I see. … I do feel better."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at jsolochek@tampabay.com, (813) 909-4614, or on Twitter @jeffsolochek.

Pasco revisiting safety precautions for special needs students 12/18/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 8:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump to skip Kennedy Center Honors awards program

    Politics

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Acknowledging that he has become a "political distraction," President Donald Trump has decided to skip the festivities surrounding the annual Kennedy Center Honors arts awards later this year, the White House announced Saturday amid the continuing fallout over Trump's stance on last weekend's …

  2. Bucs' annual Women of RED preseason party attracts nearly 2,000

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Theresa Jones is primarily a college football fan, but she wanted to get a taste of the Bucs. So the 46-year-old Tampa resident bought a ticket for the team's Women of RED Ultimate Football Party at Raymond James Stadium on Friday.

    Lee White of Seminole tries on a helmet at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers female fans descended upon Raymond James Stadium for the ultimate football party, the 2017 Women of RED: The Takeover, supported by Moffitt Cancer Center. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times

  3. Bucs' Ali Marpet: Move to center could pay off big

    Bucs

    TAMPA — No player works as closely with Jameis Winston as the center. Only those two touch the ball on every play. Together they make — if you will — snap judgements about defensive alignments.

     Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ali Marpet #74 warm up prior to preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  4. Inside the Rays continuing historically bad slump

    Blogs

    The numbers tell the story of the Rays inexplicable ongoing offensive slump, and the words detail how tough it has been to deal with.

  5. How Rays' Chris Archer is branching out on Twitter

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer (22) leans on the railing of the dugout during the All-Star game at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times