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    Absences increase, but schools stay calm

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001

    ST. PETERSBURG -- On the second anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, several Pinellas high schools reported higher-than-normal absentee rates, district spokesman Ron Stone said.

    Stone did a spot check of five of the district's 16 high schools. He found that 53 percent of Osceola High School students stayed home Friday, compared to 40 percent of students at Seminole High. Largo High had about 30 percent absent, and East Lake had 26 percent absent, but that included about 130 students on a band trip.

    Typically, 10 percent of high school students miss a given day. That's how many were absent at Northeast High on Friday.

    Many schools around Tampa Bay have had an increase in rumors and threats of violence, including Osceola, Seminole and East Lake. But Pinellas' schools closed for the weekend quietly.

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