Father of student hit, killed outside fair asks for stricter rules

- The anniversary of his son's death still brings tears to the eyes of Andrew Joseph, Jr.

Tuesday, February 7 marked the three-year anniversary that 14-year-old Andrew Joseph, III was killed outside the Florida State Fairgrounds on Student Day.

"It's the hardest feeling in the whole world to have to go to the graveyard to visit your child," said the elder Joseph. "I had to bury my heart."

In 2014, Joseph was one of 99 teenagers kicked out of the fair following a brawl. Hillsborough County deputies said he was one of several students running through the fairgrounds during the chaos.

Deputies transported Joseph off of fairgrounds and dropped him off without supervision. That's when he was hit by a passing car as he tried to cross I-4.

Since his death, Joseph, Jr. has held an annual protest across from the fair calling for new policies when it comes to minors.

On Tuesday, he took his concerns to the school board, pleading for officials to start requiring parents to sign a consent form before giving students free tickets to the fair.

"You can't even go to Chuck E Cheese's without your parent, you can't get a free cookie from Publix without your parent, but you're encouraged to come to this fair without your parents," questioned Joseph.

He also questioned the board on why students are given a full day off from school on Student Day.

"I don't think schools should be shut down that day. If you had an F average all year, and you've missed 16 days already, you should be in school," said Joseph.

Since his son's death, many changes have been made at the fair, including a larger law enforcement presence, new rules requiring students to have a valid school ID on Student Day, adult supervision after 6 p.m. and a free adult ticket given to students in addition to their free pass.

The school board did not immediately respond to Joseph's requests on Tuesday. He said he is preparing for another rally in his son's honor on Friday, February 10, across from the state fairgrounds on Student Day.

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