Pasco mother claims failed policies exposing schools to threat of danger

8 On Your Side

She tells school board the district knew a threat continued working at her son's school

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. (WFLA) – A Pasco County mother ripped into the school board Tuesday, claiming she is keeping her son home because she doesn’t believe she is getting the truth.

Valerie Van Stronder’s son attends Connerton Elementary School in Land O’ Lakes. She lashed out at the school board claiming its failed policies allowed a custodian to return to Connerton after he intentionally overdosed last December.

Pasco school district officials claim there was no threat to children at Connerton Elementary School.

Last month, that same custodian pulled out a knife at the school and stabbed himself in the chest and stomach.

“He was cleared, that’s all I can tell you. He was cleared to go back to work,” Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning said. “Now, is hindsight 20-20? Would I put him someplace else? Sure, I’d probably put him someplace else but he was cleared to go back to work.”

“Failed policies continue to expose our schools to the threat of danger,” Valerie Van Stronder told the school board. “Failed policies allow a known threat to continue to work in my child’s school.”

“A handful of parents want all the gory details,” Superintendent Browning added. “I’m not going to provide all the gory details to parents, just not gonna do it. That’s all I have to say about it.”

At Tuesday evening’s school board meeting, Van Stronder said, “Parents would not have to go on social media or to the news if we weren’t kept in the dark. Well here I am in the light to tell you, you work for us, we elected you, tax dollars pay you and we expect more from you than this failure.”

If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808 or contact Steve Andrews via email at

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