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PASCO COUNTY SCHOOLS LIMIT BLOOD DRIVES

Florida Blood Services gets 18 percent of its donations from blood drives at Pasco County high schools.

But school officials, concerned about student safety and lost instruction time, have decided to curtail the number of drives at schools each year.

The district will limit the nine schools that participate to two drives annually, instead of three, with at least four months between them. Teachers, clinic nurses, coaches and principals all have raised concerns about student safety if they get dizzy or ill, superintendent Heather Fiorentino said Tuesday.

Blood drives also interfere with class time, assistant superintendent Jim Davis added. Students are typically gone about an hour.

But J.B. Gaskins, vice president of donor systems for Florida Blood Services, says blood donation is a lesson that can't be taught.

The agency is working out a plan to try to convince school officials to return to the higher number of high school drives.

"There is no better lesson than giving back to the community," he said.

By the numbers

1,578 donors in Pasco County schools.

2,259 pints of blood that come from them.

18 percentage of total donations that comes from Pasco high schools.

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