Pinellas Park High School

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Pinellas Park High School
PPHS logo.jpg
Largo, Florida, United States
Type Public
Established 1976
Principal John Johnston
Grades 9-12
Color(s) Red, White, and Blue


Mascot Patriot

Pinellas Park High School is a public secondary school in Largo, Florida, United States. It opened in the fall of 1976 and is part of the Pinellas County Schools system. The school mascot is the Patriot, and the school colors are red, white and blue. The school newspaper is called the Powder Horn Press and the yearbook is Occurrences. The school is home to the Criminal Justice Academy magnet program, as well as the First Responders magnet program.


Pinellas Park High School, located in Largo, Florida, opened its doors in August 1976. Because of the United States Bicentennial occurring that year, it adopted the name "The Patriots" and chose red, white, and blue as its school colors. In 2001, the school received a $500,000 grant to develop smaller learning communities. Five SLCs comprising the entire school population exist today: Freshman Forum (for incoming freshmen); Arts & Humanities; Environmental, Medical and Biological Alliance; Sophomore Seminar, and Business Design Technologies. The ESOL program helps foreign-language speakers and GOALS acts as a drop-out prevention program. Finally, as a result of the Pinellas county introduction of Choice schools, 80% of the school's students come from throughout the county.

Student demographics[edit]

The total student population of approximately 2,300 students comprises 70.3% Caucasians, 12.7% African-Americans, 9.5% Hispanics, 5.9% Asians, .2% American Indian, and 1.4% Other. The student attendance rate is 92.7%. Pinellas Park High School is one of the most ethnically-diverse schools of the country, comprising a large number of students from Latin and Asian countries. ESOL students form 6% of the total school population, and special education students make up 17% of the student body. PPHS is one of the district centers for special education students.

Criminal Justice Academy[edit]

The Criminal Justice Academy is a four-year magnet program at Pinellas Park High School that teaches students about the American legal system and the careers found in that system.


Students must apply and be accepted into the Criminal Justice Academy. Eighth grade applicants must have stanines of 5 or higher on standardized tests, GPA of 3.5 or higher for all work in sixth and seventh grades, 2 positive academic teacher recommendations, and good discipline and attendance records.[1]


The main building has over 40,000 square feet (3,716 m2) of space and was built in 1976. The building includes a gymnasium and auditorium as well as a media center and library, several computer labs, a well furnished weight room, a complete autobody shop and a complete printing shop. The CJA building was built between 1996–1998 and opened to students in the fall of 1998. The building has 8,496 square feet (789 m2) of space, including several classrooms, administration offices, a mock courtroom, and an apartment used as a mock crime scene.

First Responders[edit]

The school's newest program founded in 2009, teaches students emergency planning and response along with first aid, CPR, and gives students chances for certifications with FEMA and the basic HAZMAT training. The senior classes have a chance to take a college EMR class and participate in Pinellas Park High's "Disaster Day," where the underclassmen act as if a natural disaster has occurred and depend on the seniors to assist, take control of, and isolate the situation. The students who join the First Responder program are required to volunteer with the community to illustrate the program's involvement and dedication to the community. The First Responders program has a new director, Mr. Peppers(K).

Notable incidents[edit]

School shooting[edit]

The school made news on February 11, 1988, when two 15 year old male students, Jason Harless and Jayson McCoy, brought stolen guns to the school cafeteria, which escalated into the shooting of two school officials and a teacher.[2] Assistant Principal Richard Allen was killed, Assistant Principal Nancy Blackwelder and Joseph Bloznalis, an assistant physical education teacher who was interning from the University of South Florida, were injured. Harless was sentenced to 17 years in adult prison and was later released after eight years imprisonment. McCoy was sentenced to six years in adult prison, but served 14 months in a “youthful offenders” facility.[2] Neither has been known to attend any of the annual homecoming events at the school each fall.

Taser incident[edit]

The school again made national news in 2005 when police officers used a Taser three times on a student, Doug Walker, who was struggling with them.[3] This incident is often cited in the debate about how much force is excessive in schools.[4]

Teacher scandal[edit]

In 2005 a teacher faced 47 felony charges alleging that he enticed several female high school students to email him nude pictures of themselves. He resigned in November after the allegations surfaced. The teacher pled no contest to 15 combined charges and was sentenced to nearly eight years in prison on October 18, 2006.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Criminal Justice Academy at Pinellas Park High School". Archived from the original on 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  2. ^ a b Winchester, Donna (February 11, 2008). "Sad day to pass unnoted at school". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  3. ^ " - Transcripts". 2005-11-08. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  4. ^ " - News : Shocking tale". 2005-11-15. Retrieved 2007-01-20. [dead link]
  5. ^ "St. Petersburg Times". 1989-09-21. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  6. ^ "St. Petersburg Times". 1989-09-21. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°52′51″N 82°43′27″W / 27.8808567°N 82.7242671°W / 27.8808567; -82.7242671