Saturday, April 21, 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


Saturday’s letters: Don’t weaken rules on fisheries

Florida fisheriesDon’t weaken rules on fish stocksMembers of Congress are proposing changes to an important ocean law, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, that would adversely affect coastal states including Florida.Since it...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Friday’s letters: We owe it to our children to teach them history

If we don’t understand past, future looks grim | April 19, Daniel Ruth columnThe history we owe our childrenIt’s not often I agree with Daniel Ruth, but this article was spot-on. I’m not sure when the schools started ignoring Germany’s World War ...
Published: 04/19/18

Thursday’s letters: Gun research can save lives

Gun ownershipCommon ground: Find the factsThere are many areas in the current debate about guns and gun ownership where both sides must agree to disagree. But there is one area where common ground ought to exist. That concerns the need for continuing...
Published: 04/18/18

Wednesday’s letters:

Poverty and plenty in bay area | April 7, editorialStruggling poor are not a priorityI commend your newspaper for continuing to produce real and relevant news, particularly the recent editorial pointing out that a prospering Tampa Bay should not ...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Hernando Letters to the Editor for April 20

Bar Association celebrates Law WeekPresident Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed May 1, 1958, as the first Law Day to mark the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. Every year on this day, we reflect on the significance of the rule of law and rededicat...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18

Tuesday’s letters: Stop cooperating with ICE

Sheriff’s ICE policy blasted | April 10Pinellas should end partnership with ICEPinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri recently participated in a community conversation on his controversial agreement with ICE to voluntarily detain immigrants in the...
Published: 04/16/18

Sunday’s letters: The future of oyster production

Shell game | April 15Future of oyster productionThanks to Laura Reiley for an excellent synopsis of the current state of oyster production in Florida. The collapse of the Apalachicola oyster fishery is merely the latest example of the demise of a...
Published: 04/14/18

Monday’s letters: Public education is foundation of the nation

Voters beware of ballot deceptionApril 13, commentarySchools’ role underminedIt was with great pain that I read (not for the first time) that we must be aware of "ballot deception." Public schools were founded to make sure that future generations of ...
Published: 04/13/18

Saturday’s letters: Health Department should butt out

Judge: Grow pot, Mr. Redner | April 12Health officials should butt outThe Times reports that the Florida Department of Health filed an appeal to the decision allowing a man who is a Stage 4 lung cancer survivor to grow pot in his backyard for his ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Friday’s letters: Open and shut: Enforce the law

Sheriff’s ICE aid policy blasted | April 10Open and shut: Enforce the lawPeople and institutions that insist on the using the euphemism "undocumented immigrant" do nothing but affirm their lack of objectivity by using such a phrase to support an ...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/12/18