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Truant roundup nets 7 skippers

The truant roundup, part three, came to Land O'Lakes on Friday as seven students got nabbed for skipping school. As they have done twice already this year in West Pasco, school officials and Pasco sheriff's deputies made a special effort Friday to be on the lookout for truant teens. This time, officials focused on the Land O'Lakes area.

By the time the day was over, officials had caught seven students - five from Land O'Lakes High and two from Pine View Middle School.

"I know there are more than that," said Sgt. Brian Moyer, supervisor of the school resource officer program for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. "The area's really not conducive to hanging out.

They go to Tampa."

Moyer said a few high school students were intercepted as they were leaving school, probably to go to lunch. Students are not allowed to leave campus to go to lunch. Some of the middle school pupils were caught as they were headed to a classmate's house.

After the students were detained, they were taken to Pine View Middle School, where they were held until their parents came to take them home. The idea is to get the parents' attention by getting them involved and perhaps inconveniencing them a little.

On Tuesday (schools will be closed Monday for Presidents Day), the students and their parents will meet with school officials to decide what kind of discipline the students should receive.

The truant roundup Friday was the third this year. In January, officials caught 19 students from the West Pasco area. In early February, they found 19 skipping, again in West Pasco. The roundup Friday was the first to focus on Land O'Lakes.

Although school officials and sheriff's deputies do apprehend students at other times, they make a special effort to do so on the truant roundup days. And on those days, rather than take the students back to school, they ask parents to come pick up their truant children.

Moyer said he expected school officials would have similar roundups in East Pasco or in other areas, but he would not say when.