New teachers nervous, but focused after bomb plot | News
Plant City, Florida -- There's always anxiety here. But in the past, it's been all about bulletin boards, grade books, and brand new students.
This year, the annual chamber of commerce breakfast welcoming Plant City's newest teachers has an odd edge too it.
"We are nervous about things like that," said Sagan Skinner, a first-year teacher at Plant City's Wilson Elementary School.
"But at the same time, our responsibility is our kids and getting the year started great, making sure that we welcome them with open arms. We just kinda have to put it on the back burner."
Skinner is one of the dozens of teachers at this gathering who feel especially close to the alleged plot to bomb Freedom High School in New Tampa.
Photo Gallery: Pictures of Jared Cano
Many of the people in this building were at Freedom High for training just days ago.
"It just kind of touches base with you, as far as, 'Okay, we were just there, and had that happened a little sooner, you know -- here were all these new teachers,'" Skinner said.
Hillsborough County Superintendent MaryEllen Elia said she'd focus her talk here on the fun and magic of back-to-school time, instead of the unnerving attack police say 17-year old Jared Cano planned for Tuesday, the first day of school.
It's a plot revealed to police by a tipster who still remains anonymous.
"I think what we have to do... is use this as a lesson, to make sure that in the future, we're very, very cognizant and aware that things can happen," Elia said of the alleged plot.
"And we need to be watching for signs that we feel indicate that there's a problem."
10 News talked live with Elia on The Morning Show, where she sent this message to moms and dads:
"Clearly because of the partnerships we have with the Tampa Police Department, with the Sheriff's [Office], with Plant City, with Temple Terrace, and with everybody who is in that role across this community, safety is important," she said.
"We're very focused on it. And their children are safe in our schools."
Nerves or not, Elia says she's confident these teachers will be totally focused on learning when students first arrive five days from now.