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Don't relax school attendance policy in Pinellas

A clear message: Show up for school | editorial, July 26

Don't relax school attendance policy

I applaud Pinellas school superintendent Julie Janssen for her effort to "put some teeth back into the attendance policy." But I am appalled by the new rules, one of which states that students must be in class for at least half the class period to be counted present, and another that states they must stay in school for at least half the day's class periods to be counted present for the day.

In the first place, why the need for the "relaxed" rules apparently made for the swine flu last year? That whole "scare" turned out to be an over-hyped media event which did not materialize. Even so, why adjust the attendance policy? Absenteeism, excused or unexcused, should have been handled per the normal policy.

Why do we keep lowering our standards? How can our public schools deliver sound education to our students when our expectations are so low? This is an outrage! The public, parents in particular, must demand more!

Marilyn Renner, Dunedin

A clear message: Show up for school | editorial, July 26

Tougher rules on tardiness needed

I am a retired school administrator who would never have tolerated or permitted the proposed attendance rules. If students were late to class, they went to a holding area until time for the next class period. They received no credit for attendance or grade for work missed.

A student who missed a half-day of classes was given an unexcused absence for the day. Three unexcused absences in a semester resulted in the student being suspended from class attendance, not school attendance, until a conference with the parents and student established a contract regarding future attendance. Violation of the contract terms required the school to notify the Department of Children and Family Services for intervention and possible court appearance.

If the Pinellas County schools are truly interested in school improvement, they should take a look at school practices that create not only award-winning schools, but life-long learners.

John H. Mason, Clearwater

Largo police taking secrecy past reason | editorial, July 25

Public has right to know about crime

My husband and I moved to this area three years ago. We have a daughter who is 14 years old. This year the school district moved her bus stop right across the street from the Largo apartments where the May 15 murder took place. On May 15, school was still in session.

Who gives the police department the right to withhold information so important, and on top of that, they had not even caught the suspect. We go unaware that a terrible crime has been committed and a dangerous person is in our neighborhood. There are so many children here and the police department does not feel it is important enough to let the community know?

I would like to know who appointed the new police chief, John Carroll. I would also like to be able to ask the chief what made him think the community he is asked to serve and protect did not have the right to know that such a terrible crime had been committed and the suspect still at large. That is a disgrace! I am a working, taxpaying, law-abiding citizen who deserves some answers along with the rest of my community!

I want to thank the St. Petersburg Times for bringing this to our attention. There are a lot of comments that are made about the media and most are in a negative manner. I praise you and hope many others see this and someone is held accountable.

Debbie Beetem, Largo

Largo police taking secrecy past reason | editorial, July 25

Times report puts case in jeopardy

Shame on the Times for taking the Largo police to task on this matter. Calling attention to this issue could alert the perpetrator that there are leads not published and complicate their investigation. Have some respect and compassion for the difficulty of their work. Have confidence in their ability and in their desire to protect and serve.

Robyn Dalton, Largo

Miller apologizes for remarks | story, July 22

Miller's apology pure doublespeak

When is an apology not an apology? When Oldsmar City Council member Janice Miller preambles hers with, "I shoot from the hip" and, "I don't always say the politically correct thing." This is doublespeak for "I said exactly what I mean and don't have to sugar coat it!"

Miller goes on to "apologize for offending some people" — not all the people, mind you. Throwing in that Palin-esque wink-line, "You betcha," was a sly touch.

Miller was ably enabled by councilmate Linda Norris, who bemoaned the heartbreak of having your town portrayed as racist. Said Norris, "We don't stand for it."

The rest of the council chimed in with silence.

Norris did say that she expected a "circus" to attend the meeting. A circus? Isn't that a group of clowns and animals? Anyway, Norris was happy that "a lot of citizens didn't come" to the meeting.

An apology? Thanks but no thanks.

Dave Plyer, Clearwater

>>Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our website at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

. Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our website at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Don't relax school attendance policy in Pinellas 07/31/10 [Last modified: Friday, July 30, 2010 6:09pm]
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