Schools on Lockdown and Changes for Teachers

School Lockdown

Two Tampa schools were placed on lockdown Wednesday following reports of a weapon on Farnell Middle School’s campus. The middle school student who fabricated the report will face felony charges.

“Once we learned of a threat, the school resource deputy was where the subject was allegedly last seen within seconds,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Moments later, the entire uniformed force that stormed this school to make sure that these individuals were safe, along with the help and assistance of school security, as we immediately started going through the rooms to see if there was a firearm or if there was an individual on campus.”

Both Farnell Middle School and Bryant Elementary school were put on lockdown after a middle school teacher told the school’s resource officer about rumors of a weapon on campus.

The Hillsborough County Shariff’s Office said that there was no immediate threat found at the school.

The student responsible for the rumors later admitted to making the story up.

Teacher Gun Laws

The Florida legislature took steps toward expanding a law that will allow more teachers to carry guns in school.

Currently, school districts can choose whether or not to allow select teachers to carry guns under a voluntary program.

Teachers and employees would have to undergo training, background checks and a psychological evaluation before they can qualify for the program.

The Senate Committee on Education approved a bill that would make all teachers eligible for the program.

Some Republicans said the law won’t have much of an impact on the existing law but some Democrats said the opposite — that arming more teachers will create more danger.

The bill passed out of the education committee by two votes. Now, it will go on to the next committee for review.

Teacher Pay Raise

The Pinellas County School Board unanimously approved a pay raise for teachers Wednesday.

After months of negotiations, Pinellas teachers will soon see a bump in their paycheck. Beginning March 1, teachers will receive a 2.5 percent raise.

Salaries for new teachers will start at almost 44 thousand dollars per year, which is the highest starting teacher salary in the Tampa Bay area.

In addition to a pay raise, working conditions will also improve under this agreement. Teachers will no longer have to provide formal lesson plans or attend planning meetings.

The goal, according to the school board, is to give teachers more time to focus on their classrooms.

Tampa Bay Tourism

Gordon Tarpley

2018 was a record-breaking year for Hillsborough County tourism. According to Visit Tampa Bay, tourism revenue reached almost $700 million. This is a 36 percent increase since 2014.

More than 8 million hotel room nights were sold and hotel occupancy averaged more than 73 percent.

Visit Tampa Bay worked with Marriott International, Expedia and other travel industry businesses to promote the city.



Anchor: Celine Fleites
Producer: Peyton Roux
Director: Sabrina Olivier
Technical Director: Maribeth Nguyen
Graphics: Alexa Ignacio
Audio: Caylee Cottrell
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