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‘Self-gratifying exhibitionism’ is not the way to teach Tampa Bay’s high school students | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
Published Jul. 4

Tampa teens reported a teacher’s sexual comments. Then a student’s life was upended | June 20

I write as a university professor emerita (retired 2019) to point out that teaching excellence involves not only keen organizational skills, enthusiasm, and mastery of one’s subject matter, but above all, utmost professionalism and absolute respect for each learner. This means that the attention is never focused on one’s self, and that paramount to a teacher’s responsibility is to uphold the trust placed in them to protect the dignity and well-being of each and every student (no matter their age), as if they were one’s own children. Anything less deems the instructor unworthy to serve in a role sacred to learning institutions.

Though it appears that Blake High School teacher Tiffany Johnson never had her formal day in court before resigning, showcasing her own desires in the classroom (as graphically documented by a number of her students) suggests self-gratifying exhibitionism as her preferred teaching technique. Those brave enough to shine light on the situation should be commended, not shunned.

Georgie Ann Weatherby, Ph.D., St. Petersburg

What are you thinking?

Hillsborough School Board gambles with pushing back on charter schools | Editorial, June 25

I am truly dismayed, disappointed, but, more importantly, confused as to the stance the Times Editorial Board is taking regarding the issue of the Hillsborough school board’s refusal to certify new charter schools. I am a public school teacher. Yes, I understand the fact that charters are part of public K-12 school. No, I am not completely opposed to their existence. I understand their role, I understand why parents started this movement. I also understand why our school board, and many school boards, should have concerns about their expansion and their effect on traditional schools that are struggling and need support, not more economic and emotional gutting.

This is an issue of home rule. This is our local school board having a say, and I would say they are largely supported by the community. So, where do you get off calling them out for this? Are you in the governor’s pocket? Is that the problem?

Lucretia Dovi, Temple Terrace

Charter schools aren’t the problem

Hillsborough School Board gambles with pushing back on charter schools | Editorial, June 25

The actions of the Hillsborough County School Board last month to deny renewal of four charter schools in our community, against the recommendation of the district professional staff and in conflict with state law, was egregious. Their actions clearly showed willful disregard for the law but more importantly for the rights of parents to choose the best educational option for their students. The Charter School Leaders of Hillsborough County , made up of 22 independent not-for-profit charter operators, applaud the Florida Department of Education’s engagement and demand that the district reconsider their actions and approve these renewals per state law.

The members of Charter School Leaders value students first, which is the reason we entered into the field of education. We must remember that the student comes first, not the adults, not the institution, and this should not be political. Florida parents have a right to choose the best environment in which to educate their individual children. We are grateful that the Florida Legislature, our governor, and the Department of Education recognize this.

Our schools should be and want to be partners with our district, helping to meet the need of every student in our community. Our community benefits from a strong educational environment with diverse options. We cannot continue to pit one side against another. We must work collaboratively and remember that parents and students are our stakeholders.

Lesley Logan, Tampa

The writer is the cofounder of Literacy Leadership Technology Academy, a charter school in Hillsborough County.

Actions and consequences

Dan Crenshaw wants Gwen Berry kicked off the Olympic team. How un-American | Column, July 1

National sports events are shows. They have actors — the players or participants. They have audiences — us. They have producers — the coaches. And they have a very large cash element — the advertisers. When sports participants protest during the “shows” whatever it might be (i.e. turning away from the flag, taking a knee, raising a fist, or covering their face during the playing of the national anthem), they are not performing the show as designed. They certainly have the right to do this. However, the producers and or advertisers have the right to eliminate them from future “shows.” The producers have the right to include in their contract with the players/participants a significant penalty clause for intentionally doing any action which detracts from the show’s presentation. And the advertisers have the right to include in their contract with the “producers” and/or sports associations a significant penalty clause for any actor’s intentionally doing any action which detracts from the show’s presentation.

E. Seward, Odessa

The missing ingredient: Science

Why I’m still not ready to get the COVID vaccine | Letters, June 26

After reading the writer’s nicely written letter about why she has chosen not to be vaccinated against COVID at this time, I now know why she and so many others from The School of Hard Knocks take this position: That school doesn’t have a science curriculum.

Christine Pribyl, St. Petersburg

It’s even worse than it seems

Carving up Pasco and Hillsborough wilderness to build a new road isn’t worth it | Editorial, June 29

I applaud the Times Editorial Board for calling for the alternative route that avoids the precious wilderness areas, but the editors continue to use poor wording pushed by the state. One cannot say the State Road 56 extension would damage only 131 acres. This project would destroy 131 acres, and it would also cause some harm to all 22,761 acres of that wilderness area by disrupting water flow and wildlife corridors.

Steve Geiger, St. Petersburg