Crossbow charge has Hillsborough teacher in hot seat
TAMPA - When Hillsborough County teacher Ronald Budd was trying to adjust the sights on his crossbow, police say, he fired a shot at the target several feet away. The problem was twofold: he did it inside his apartment, and the arrow missed the target, traveled through a wall and into a neighbor’s bedroom. It came to rest on the floor by a baby’s changing table. Budd, 42, was arrested by Tampa police after the March 14 incident and charged with shooting into an occupied dwelling, a felony. Now the school district wants to suspend him without pay at its meeting Tuesday. He also could be recommended for dismissal after that action.Police were called to the apartment complex on North Armenia Avenue by Angel Tejada, Budd’s next-door neighbor. Tejada had heard a loud noise that came from his bedroom about 10:40 p.m. When he investigated, he found a red arrow with a black tip on the floor. Pieces of drywall were on the floor, and a flashlight was shining through a hole in the wall. Police went to Budd’s apartment, and he admitted shooting the arrow at the target on his wall. “The wall near the target had multiple circular holes where arrows had been striking the wall,” a police report on the incident said. Budd, who has been a teacher since 2000, is not the only teacher in trouble with the school district over problems with the law. Yuri Higgins, a business teacher at Tampa Bay Technical High School, also is recommended for suspension without pay. District officials say he was arrested in February in Georgia on charges of possession of marijuana and driving under the influence. Yolanda Thomas, an exceptional student education aide at Van Buren Middle School, has been recommended for dismissal. The school district says she was charged with unemployment compensation fraud in January. Another teacher, Ingrid Peavy of Pierce Middle School, is recommended for suspension without pay. The district began investigating her after a parent called the Pierce principal to say her child — who is disabled — walked 5 miles to their home and no one at the school knew the child had left. Peavy, who has worked for the district since 2004, was the teacher responsible for the student, district records indicate.