On Friday, Dec. 13, James Bradley Hulett was hanging out with three friends after school at the home of a Tampa Police officer on Bridgewater Drive in Lithia when he was shot in the back of the head. He was transported to Brandon Regional Hospital where he died.
See related story: Teen Fatally Shot In FishHawk Home Of Tampa Police Officer
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation into the shooting in ongoing and have made no arrests. In the meantime, the three 15- and 16-year-old teens involved continue to attend Newsome High School.
“I’m here to ask you some hard questions and for you to reconsider your current course of action, which appears to be a wait-and-see approach,” said Allea Newbold, the mother of two Newsome students. “By doing this, you have the appearance of not performing your own threat assessment.”
Newbold said the school district hasn’t done enough to protect the students. In keeping with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act and the school district’s own policy, Newbold said the school district should have sent a threat assessment team to the school to evaluate the situation, conduct interviews with students and determine if the teens involved in the shooting are a threat.
By not doing that, she said the school board has violated Florida statutes mandating that it provide a safe and supportive learning environment “by protecting students and staff from conduct that poses a threat to school safety,” said Newbold. “It provides that the board will take all steps to protect the victim of violent crime from any further victimization.”
Several Newsome students, including Hulett’s 15-year-old sister, Ava, also addressed the school board.
“They took Bradley’s life and keep acting like nothing happened,” said Alexa Haybrook, Hulett’s girlfriend. “They got away with murder and the school’s rewarding them by allowing them to stay in school.”
Haybrook said she no longer felt safe attending Newsome and now attends the Hillsborough County Virtual School.
“Seeing their faces and knowing they’re responsible, I had to withdraw from Newsome,” she said. “Isn’t that the definition of bullying? Please change the policy and protect the victims, so they feel safe in school again.”
Ava Hulett said she couldn’t tolerate walking down the hall and seeing the teens involved in her brother’s death.
“Some of the boys involved are still not making statements to the police and attend Newsome High School,” she told the school board. “I was forced to walk past them in the hallway, watching the kid who pulled the trigger make out with his girlfriend.”
She said she left Newsome after becoming incapacitated by panic attacks.
“I had to adjust my education because my only other choice was to attend school with murderers,” Hulett said. “That’s not fair to me or anyone else that cares about Bradley.”
Unfortunately, said school district attorney Jim Porter, the school board’s hands are tied because no charges have been filed against any of the teens involved in the shooting.
“Currently, this a situation that’s under active investigation by the sheriff’s office,” said Porter. “No charges have been filed at this point because the investigation is ongoing. At the time that the investigation is resolved, the board may be able to take the appropriate action. But at this point, the school board has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter.”
“It’s a challenging issue that the families are facing and the school is facing,” said Superintendent Jeff Eakins. “I commend the students for even getting up to speak this evening and giving such a heartfelt testimony. We do understand the challenges that you’re facing.”
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