Bartow, Florida — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says two teachers have been arrested for possession of pot in their home.
Arrested are Bradley Goldsmith, 25, and Jessica Murray, 26, both of Loma Vista Court in Davenport. They are teachers at the Donald E. Woods Alternative School. Also charged is Jessica’s boyfriend, Jason West, 26.
According to deputies, all three admitted to smoking marijuana socially at Goldsmith’s home. They were taken to the county jail at Bartow on charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a dwelling for drug use.
Deputies say a search of the home produced one large bong, five glass pipes, one cannabis grinder and marijuana. Jail records indicate the marijuana was less than 20 grams.
“It’s troubling when teachers — who should be role models for our children — are smoking marijuana, therefore setting a bad example,” says Sheriff Grady Judd. “The criminal charges may be minor, but the loss of trust is great.”
Let me see if I’ve gotten this straight. You just busted two teachers (and a boyfriend) who teach at an alternative school for smoking pot at home. They never brought the pot to the school or used it at the school. Among the three of them, they had less than 7 grams each, less than a quarter ounce. Even in Florida, that’s still a misdemeanor, but it may lead to their firing. So now there will be two classrooms full of special-needs kids making do with substitute teachers, or perhaps their already-too-large classes are folded into some other already-too-large classes.
Oh, well, you gotta have priorities. You can’t have dedicated teachers instructing our kids without making sure they provide a fine example to the children in the privacy of their own home where none of their students will see them. It’s much better that we spend more money on substitute teachers and hiring and training new teachers… what’s that?… we’re out of money?…
Mothers from Cutler Bay held a funeral for public education — and posted the video on YouTube.
Two others from Doral went on a weeklong hunger strike.
It may take more than that. The battle over school funding will define this legislative session the way the hunt for tax relief did last year’s.
Economists predict that the tax revenue that runs the state, generated by everything from home sales to retail goods, will be down by $3.5 billion more this spring. That money is the lifeblood of the state general fund, nearly half of which is used for education.
Unlike the federal government, the state cannot run a deficit. So, unless lawmakers raise revenue — something the Republican-dominated Legislature is actually considering, with talk of increasing the cigarette tax or eliminating corporate-tax loopholes — they have to scale back spending.
Florida ranks 47th in the nation in education spending per $1,000 of personal income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2006 figures, the latest available.
That was before schools across the state absorbed unprecedented budget cuts. In the past two years, state lawmakers slashed $3.87 billion from the education budget — a reduction of nearly 16 percent.
The Miami-Dade County district had to reduce its budget by about $300 million in the past year — a 5.5 percent cut. In Broward County, the cuts totaled $150 million.