Friday, June 22, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Safety emphasized at Pasco schools

School safety always a priority

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, there are many questions being raised, understandably, about the safety of our schools. Pasco County public schools have long been committed to safety and continually evaluate, update, train and drill on various safety procedures.

The approach to safety in our schools is based on an all-hazards approach — protocols to address risks from natural disasters and medical emergencies to campus violence. The procedures are reviewed regularly and appropriate changes are made to address new tactics or trends.

Threat management is practiced based on all available information, including social media. Information from many sources is evaluated and acted upon as quickly as possible to ensure the safety of students, staff and parents at Pasco schools. This includes whatever resources are needed to prevent violence from occurring on campuses.

Last year, for example, the Sheriff's Office was notified of a high school student claiming, on a social media site, that he was going to shoot up a school. A safety plan was created for the appropriate schools and others were notified through a coordinated effort between law enforcement and the Pasco School Board District Office. Surrounding counties and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also were notified, The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office became involved quickly and the threatening postings were tracked to a student on the east coast of Florida who was taken into custody pursuant to a Baker Act. Pasco schools were never a target, but precautions were taken locally to safeguard students, while the students in another Florida community were protected.

Elementary schools do not have an assigned School Resource Officer currently, however, many are served by SROs and Officer Friendly corporals. Patrol deputies, officers, and specialized law enforcement units will continue to provide enhanced attention to elementary schools. Any threats or concerns expressed by elementary school staff are also aggressively pursued to ensure child safety and mitigate any potential threats.

One of the most helpful things a parent can do is model calmness in the presence of their children while encouraging them to follow the instructions provided by their teachers and school staff in the event of an emergency. Parents are encouraged to keep their contact information current with the schools. They should also avoid responding to the school during an emergency before being notified by the school. This only serves to prevent first responders from quickly responding and addressing the situation.

Parents are encouraged to report any suspicious activity at or near the school as well as any unusual behavior by anyone in the community that may be a threat to the school. This information is aggressively pursued by law enforcement and can be provided anonymously through the tip icon on the Pasco Sheriff's Office website ( or Crime Stoppers ( or by telephone at 1-800-873-8477.

Lt. J.R. Law, Pasco school safety officer, Land O'Lakes


Monday’s letters: College instructors need classes in active shooter training

Active shooter perceptions disproven | June 21We need active shooter trainingThe only guns that I had seen before coming to the United States of America were in glass cases in museums. When I came to America to get a Ph.D. in English at the Unive...
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Friday’s letters: What a new Rays ballpark would mean

Rays exec hints at stadium timeline | June 15What a new ballpark would doThe Tampa Bay Rays 2020 organization is working diligently with local business leaders and civic organizations to rally support for the Rays’ new ballpark in Ybor City. The ...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/21/18

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18