Neighborhood watchdog prepares to pass the baton | Oct. 18 C.T. Bowen column
Policing works best at local level
The ideal situation is to have a local police department patrol the town or city. I am not familiar with the Embassy Hills neighborhood referred to in the column, but the Sheriff's Office must patrol 744 square miles with a population of 471,028.
I was unable to find the number of deputies who are part of the patrol division, but it is important that citizens know the total number of patrol officers does not equal that many on patrol at one time. You must consider multiple shifts and off days for the personnel.
But, I agree with the subject's assessment that parents are the ones who are responsible for the actions of their kids and the neighbors cannot depend on the sheriff to monitor all decaying areas in Pasco County.
Van E. Vergetis, Holiday
Families balk at school plan, Oct. 17 article
Rezoning reduces students' options
I commend Jeffrey Solochek for the excellent job of presenting data from both the Suncoast Lakes community and the Pasco County School District. There are some things about our community and the proposed rezoning to Hudson High School that must be considered when discussing a decision that will impact the lives of 56 students.
Some of our students previously attended River Ridge Middle and were then rezoned to Crews Lake Middle last year. These students then moved to River Ridge High School this year and, with rezoning, would end up being placed in Hudson High School next year. This means that some of our students would be moved through four different schools in four years. Rezoning would be extremely disruptive to these students and unacceptable at any level.
Some of our students have been fortunate enough to be accepted into the engineering academy at River Ridge High School. Rezoning means that unless they can arrange transportation to River Ridge, they will now potentially be excluded from a program that they worked very hard to get into. Rezoning is a disservice to those particular students.
Any proposed rezoning should create the biggest benefit to students with the least amount of disruption. The Pasco County School District has yet to give us any evidence that rezoning our students will be of any benefit to our students or to our community. As far as the district's position that the "feeder pattern" must be supported, we ask what good is that when our students will invoke school choice? Even the district admits that the affected students will likely opt for school choice.
Rezoning will only mean that the parents (who are also taxpayers) will now carry the additional job of providing the transportation to school, rather than receive the services of the transportation department of Pasco County schools. It must also be considered that the 56 students of Suncoast Lakes effectively fill a single school bus, there is a very condensed route in the subdivision, and we are no farther from River Ridge than from Hudson.
While the district contends that rezoning is an emotionally charged issue, we looked at the facts rather than produce a knee-jerk response to the issue at hand.
We have even been informed the proposal reflects what the committee believes to be the best available compromise. We, the parents in Suncoast Lakes, are unwilling to compromise on our children's education. We hope that the Pasco County School District would agree with us on that point.
Amy Hertog, Land O'Lakes
Learning is what you make of it
In the article and comments online after the article there was some bashing of Hudson High School. Much of this seems to be based on statistics taken from the high school's FCAT scores. My guess is that most people don't have a clue how those FCAT scores are put together. Not to mention from a statistical and scientific point of view, the way the scoring is done is not really valid.
Bashing a school in public is not fair to the students and staff of any school. Being at Hudson High for eight years, I have found it to be a nice, safe school. Does it have some problems? Of course. But what school doesn't?
If you a look at every teacher in every high school in Pasco County, you will find out that the teaching quality of each high school is just about the same. The real truth about most public schools is that the learning is what you make of it.
Frank Buono, New Port Richey
Mother acted to defend daughter
The state has a waiting list of persons who wish to obtain a conceal carry permit. The state has a law that allows people to shoot and kill someone who is perceived to be a threat. As a nation, we have a multitude of laws named after a multitude of murdered children. We need one more law, named after one mother, Sylvia Neeley, based on Florida statue 776.031 "in defense of others."
It seems that a mother who protected her daughter from a man who bragged about molesting the child is not protected herself from community judgment. Silence is a violation of human rights. The silence of those who claim an armed community is a safe one, the silence of legislators who cowered to the strong arm of the NRA, and the silence of community leaders have violated the human rights of us all.
Vigilantism grows out of miscommunication and misunderstandings. We do not need vigilantes. We need vigilant leaders who recognize a need and respond, not with apathy, but with action and common sense.
Peno Hardesty, New Port Richey