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Manatee leaders urge parental involvement

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  • | 4:00 a.m. September 8, 2009
  • East County
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State and local leaders and Manatee County’s top law enforcement and school officials today urged parents to participate in their children’s lives, even if it means invading their privacy.

During a press conference to discuss the recent violence that has rocked the community, Manatee County Commission Chair Dr. Gwendolyn Brown was joined by State Rep. Darryl Rouson, Manatee Sheriff Brad Steube, Superintendent Tim McGonegal and county and school board members in a plea to local parents for greater involvement in their kids’ lives.

“Pay attention to your child,” Brown said. “Love them enough to talk to them about where they are, who their friends are and where they’re going.” Later she added, “I want the community to be outraged enough to do something, outraged enough to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”

Bayshore High School cheerleader Jazmine Thompson, 17, was shot and killed Friday near Southeast High School after a football game. It was the second Bayshore High School-related shooting in a month. On Aug. 4 Bayshore graduate Dejuan Williams was shot and killed in his backyard after chasing off young men who were with his sister.

Brown offered condolences to both families and said she’s saddened and angry about the events. She said the responsibility of turning the violent cycle rests within every parent, not in the school system or law enforcement.

Rouson offered Manatee leaders $4,000 to combat the problem from a pool raised for back-to-school materials for children in his district.

Steube said he’s tired of parents not being involved in their children’s lives and that he wants the community to take a stand. He urged parents to take an active role in their children’s lives, and those of their children’s friends’ lives. He also pressed anyone who knows anything about guns in or near schools to make an anonymous call to Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477.

Concerned community members may also call Manatee County Community Services at 749-3030 or click on Community Services under the Departments tab at

“It’s time to storm the beach,” said school board member Barbara Harvey. “To parents: One of the top things you do should be raising your children. You won’t be perfect, but you’ll give it your best … Love them enough to inspect their rooms and book bags. Parents have to step up to the plate.”

A follow-up community discussion is slated for Sept. 19, though a time and venue have not been decided.

The discussion will also be available on-demand by clicking on the Watch MGA-TV icon at


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