School Board is a pleasure to watch
Having attended many Pasco County School Board meetings in the past, I'm pleased to report that things have changed.
Our new superintendent, Kurt Browning, and his new appointees make the meetings a pleasure to watch. It's obvious they love what they do and, most of all, they're engaged. They are working diligently on improving the working environment in our schools which will create the best environment for our children.
If you haven't been to a meeting in a while because you came away feeling down, try again. You'll be glad you did.
Peggy Lopez, Land O' Lakes
Remembering the bully Feb. 14 guest column
We must take bullying seriously
I just read the column by Jerry Cowling, and I want to say thank you.
Do people not realize that bullying has become such an epidemic, and that kids are scared to speak up because of the repercussions that will ensue? When a child takes their own life because of this, we call this "bullycide."
I am part of a national non-profit organization called Bully Police USA, I work with those who need help in Hernando County and elsewhere. How many more children have to suffer and even end their lives because no one, not even the schools, did anything to protect them?
Someone said one issue of bullying was nothing more then horseplay between two kids. I am sorry but here is the actual meaning of horseplay: rough, boisterous, rowdy play. When a child is being kicked in the groin, punched, kicked, spit on, called horrible names or pushed down stairs, this is not horseplay. This is malicious attempt to do physical harm to someone.
We live in an area where people think there is not a problem and then either brush it off or just sweep it under the rug. But, if it happened to one of their own children, then what? You bet they will want answers and only then will they see the problem.
"Jeffrey's Law" was passed in Florida in 2008, but what good is having this anti-bullying law if districts, schools, and counties think they are above the law and choose to ignore bullying? They say that they have anti-bully programs in the schools, but really, handing out pamphlets does not constitute an anti-bully program.
Bully Police USA is here to help the children and their families reporting bullying, and teaching children they do not have to be afraid to speak up. The most powerful device that they own is their voices, not their fists or feet.
Our children deserve a normal happy, healthy life. They do not deserve to be fearful about going to school.
Robyn Hartman, Spring Hill
AP class policies are a disaster
As the parent of a hard-working Florida high school student, I was elated to hear U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's response to the State of the Union Address last week. I was so impressed when I heard him explain how important it is to grow our economy and our country by focusing on education and our children because they are our best investment. Then he went on to say that we need to, "incentivize local school districts to offer more advanced placement courses." I agree whole-heartedly.
I, too, believe in the power and value of education. Not only in the value to the individual, but in its value to our entire nation. These very capable students will go on to compete robustly with their counterparts in other nations. They will help to maintain future employment. They will be the energy of innovation to keep us strong. To that end, we have a serious problem here in Hernando and Pasco counties. It is directly on point with the policy that the senator described.
Our high school students are currently able to take advanced placement classes offered through our local community college. Unfortunately, they are in jeopardy of losing that ability. There is an effort under way to limit classes per student, charge fees for them, and specify the years in which they can be taken. All of these actions will result in limiting access to advanced classes.
Equally as troubling in Hernando County is the School Board policy to disallow attendance to any student who has completed the basic coursework to obtain a high school diploma. A diligent student is barred from school so certainly cannot take advanced placement classes. Each of these policies alone is disastrous, but moreover taken together they are absolutely antithetical to the strategy that the senator described. They will only serve to quell enthusiasm for learning, stifle ability, and leave our children with the impression that a few dollars are more important than their future.
Remember the senator's quote, "every life at every stage is precious." It is important for me to let Sen. Rubio know that I think that he is right, I share his commitment to our children and I need his help to stop the undermining of our children's education. Children must be able to go to school; including all four years of high school. And they must be able to progress to their fullest potential during that time. Because an education deficit is the worst deficit of all to give a child, it lasts a lifetime.
Lisa Bambauer, Hernando Beach