Bus drivers are not the problem

Letters to the Editor
Published September 15, 2006

Re: A high-tech hunt for school drugs, Sept. 9 Times:

I am writing today to respond to the comments that Barry Crowley, Hernando County schools' security director, made. He talks about how he is looking into a solution to combat drugs in Hernando County schools.

I am a parent of two high school-age boys and am also concerned about drugs in the school system. However, I'm not only a parent, but I also am a bus operator, also known as a bus driver. I take great offense to the comment that Mr. Crowley made regarding testing me and my fellow bus operators for the use of drugs.

I know, as a bus operator, we are subjected to drug testing by the Florida Department of Transportation. We never know when we will not only be drug tested, but also be subjected to a Breathalyzer. This is done throughout the school year, not like other school board positions that may require only a pre-employment drug screen.

As Mr. Crowley stated, he conducted a test at Central High School on 10 lockers and came up with five hits for heroin. They searched the lockers and came up with nothing. No arrests were made. They then tested the cars driven by the students and three came up positive for methamphetamine and cocaine. They searched the cars and again came up with nothing.

As far as I know, the school administration is allowed to search any locker if suspicion arises. This machine Mr. Crowley thinks is so wonderful has, so far, proved nothing. I find it hard to understand how Mr. Crowley has $50,000 to waste on one machine that has shown us no results.

The comment that Mr. Crowley made regarding the bus operators makes it sound as if we introduce the drugs into our school system. That is an insult not only to me but to my fellow drug-free co-workers.

Bus operators have gotten more results from being attentive and knowledgeable than this $50,000 machine. Bus operators have come across kids on our buses with guns, knives and drugs.

We have alerted school administration before they were brought into the schools. Now, these are results we need to look at.

I say to Mr. Crowley, put that money into education for our children and not into a little machine that will one day become a dust collector in a storage room on some school campus.

Wake up, Mr. Crowley, and seek the help of your co-workers, such as the bus operators. Regardless of what you may think, we are respectful, law-abiding citizens of this county, not the lowlifes you portray us to be.

Lisa Serrano, Spring Hill

Dogs can have a place in the parks

Re: Soggie Doggie Day at Pine Island:

My gratitude and thanks go to the caring and professional Parks and Recreation Department employees and other volunteers who made the morning at Pine Island Park a great success.

Everyone in attendance showed that pet owners have as much respect for the parks as the everyday user. Each owner obeyed the rules, kept the area clean and neat and picked up after their pets.

The staff and volunteers made the experience one to remember. We owe a huge "thank you" to all of them. It was proven today that responsible pet owners can and should be allowed to use the parks we pay for.

A small portion of the island can be used for owners to enjoy some time at the beach with their pets. An alternative would be to set aside a Saturday or two each month when pet owners can use the beach from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. We are taxpayers and we vote.

Tom Langone, Spring Hill


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