The Laker/Lutz News claims 18 awards in state contest

The Laker/Lutz News brought home 18 awards from the Community Papers of Florida 2018 Awards for Excellence competition. The annual statewide contest recognizes outstanding work in advertising, writing and photography. On the advertising side, The Laker/Lutz News design staff garnered 11 awards in these categories: Advertising campaign: First place, Stefanie Burlingame and Matthew … [Read more...]

Pasco Schools plan to beef up security

Pasco County Schools is seeking state approval of a plan that calls for adding security cameras in schools and changing locks on doors at schools throughout the district. The district wants the state to approve the plan, so it can use about $2 million in state money to pay for the security improvements. The security upgrade aims to comply with a mandate that school districts across the state … [Read more...]

Students ring in the 2018-2019 school year

As a new academic year begins, students heading to Florida public schools will be welcomed to campuses that are now protected by armed security. The Florida Legislature mandated the armed guards at public school campuses across the state in response to the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 students and staff members dead, and 17 others … [Read more...]

Pasco school district adopts new mental health plan

The Pasco County School Board has approved a plan that allocates additional funding provided by the Florida Legislature to address youth mental health needs. The Legislature’s decision to provide more money to address mental health issues came in response to the Valentine’s Day shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The Pasco school district was allocated … [Read more...]

Wilton Simpson reflects on Parkland in Dade City visit

More than five months removed from being one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland is still a considerable talking point for legislators statewide. At least that — and the state’s ensuing school safety actions — was at the forefront of discussion in State Sen. Wilton Simpson’s recent stop in Dade City. Speaking … [Read more...]

A trip to Ireland helps to inspire a 17-year-old in Land O’ Lakes

Amanda Finn would be the first to admit she’s more than a wee bit shy. But, the young woman from Land O’ Lakes said that a trip to Ireland last summer has helped to build her confidence, and now, the teenager is off on her second trip to the Emerald Isle. She won scholarships both last year and this year for the summer leadership camp in Galway through her participation in the Florida Junior … [Read more...]

Training underway for Pasco school safety guards

Bang. Bang. Bang. The echoing sound of simulated rounds of ammunition permeate throughout Rushe Middle School in Land O’ Lakes on a recent late June afternoon. One by one, school safety guard trainees, with 9mm pistols drawn, carefully and methodically traverse stairwells and hallways, checking classrooms, searching to take out a fake assailant armed with an AR-15. As each active … [Read more...]

Pasco Schools seeks to address students’ mental health needs

Pasco County Schools is searching for additional ways to better serve its students’ mental health needs. As part of that effort, the school system brought together student services staff and community mental health providers on May 4 for the district’s first-ever Mental Health Symposium. The seminar’s aim was to raise awareness of students’ mental health, build capacity of staff to respond, and … [Read more...]

Pasco school district considers hiring security officers

Budget restrictions could prompt Pasco County Schools to hire armed school security officers to work in the district’s 47 elementary schools. The district is considering using that approach — instead of using certified law enforcement officers — because of finances, said Kurt Browning, superintendent of schools. “The money that they’ve (the Florida Legislature) given us is not enough to go … [Read more...]

Wiregrass Ranch students join national walkout

Students across the nation walked out of classrooms on March 14, in a protest against gun violence and a call for greater action by Congress to keep students safe. In some cities, protests were marked by students leaving their school campuses, carrying signs and chanting for greater legislative action regulating the sale of guns, particularly assault-style rifles, such as the one used to kill … [Read more...]