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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Letters to the editor: School safety and security

School safety and security

Steve Otto’s recent column, in which he quoted an anonymous former teacher who claimed that our school district hides reports or rumors of weapons on campus, does not ring true (“Let’s uncover the issues to fix schools,” Metro, June 30). We take all reports and rumors of weapons seriously. In fact, we sometimes are criticized by parents who think we overreact by locking down a school at the mere mention of a possible weapon on campus.

As your newspaper reported, one of our high schools recently was on lockdown for virtually an entire school day because of a rumor of a weapon. The incident was widely reported in the local media, and we notified parents throughout the day. After several hours of searches and interviews, no weapon was found. Some parents questioned our decision to order a lockdown. But most parents were grateful that we responded as we did, and were pleased that we notified them why the school was on lockdown.

Unfortunately, we live during a time when students sometimes bring weapons on campus. We deal appropriately with that possible threat, and we have been extremely fortunate to avoid a weapons-related tragedy in our schools. I attribute our good fortune to vigilance, trusting relationships with students, and strong partnerships with law enforcement.

To believe that we attempt to hide such matters ignores the many times we have notified parents and the local media about incidents and rumors related to weapons.

When I read the column, I immediately asked him to reach out to the retired teacher so she could contact me personally and provide enough information for me to conduct an investigation and take appropriate action. I know that safety and security for our students and staff are important to us all.

MaryEllen Elia


The writer is the superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools.

A better solution

Regarding “We need a new Constitution” and “We the People” (Your Views, July 1):

Both letters assume the U. S. Constitution is out of date since the country has grown. I would rebut that the same could be said of the Ten Commandments, but the principles and guidance work equally as well throughout the years.

One author also suggests that we all vote on each governmental bill. We are a republic that has elected representatives to vote for us, as it is too cumbersome to have every citizens vote almost daily on a number of proposals. I think his ideas and wishes would be carried out better if he would insist on term limits. Then, all bills would be voted on as to what would be best for the country rather than to assure power or re-election.

Dick Artz

Apollo Beach

Improving government

When I read Alan Jude Murley’s letter “We need a new Constitution,” it made me think about what it takes just to amend this document, let alone make up a new one. What a monumental task! There may be a need to change some aspects, but to completely replace what has made this country so great for over 200 years is going a bit too far. I agree with Murley there is a need to rein in the executive branch — the limitations of power definitely need adjusting. The sidestepping of Congress because the president disagrees or is unwilling to wait for Congress to act on a piece of legislation needs to end. We definitely are in need of term limits not only for legislators but for Supreme Court justices also. Last but not least, a simple majority is what is needed to legislate bills and limit the ability to hold up legislation by both the speaker and the Senate leader.

J.T. Woods


Illegal immigration policy

So our president announced he can’t wait for Congress to do its job; he will again stomp on the Constitution and single-handedly solve the immigration crisis. What? He single-handedly caused the crisis. He broke the law by allowing young people to stay in this country. He has ordered the release of dangerous criminal aliens from jails and has gone after states that seek to detain criminal illegals and enforce federal law. He refuses to protect our borders. And what happens when these education-deprived kids start overloading the education system while spreading already reported diseases? The common will of the American people and our national security again are compromised by a president whose policies continue to weaken this country and defy our laws.

Josef Horowitz


Weather Center