Fair's Student Day kicks off with protest

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As student day kicked off at the Florida State Fair on Friday, across the street from the rides and games stood the Joseph family.

The parents of Andrew Joseph, III marched from US 301 to the entrance of the fairgrounds with signs calling for justice in their sons death.

“It’s been three years, yes, of course, but if we have to be here for three more years, six more years, then that’s where we’ll be," said Andrew's mother Deanna Joseph.

Andrew was 14-years-old when he died on Student Day in 2014. Joseph was one of 99 teenagers kicked out of the fair when a commotion broke out and many students started running around the fairgrounds. His parents are adamant that Joseph was trying to get away from the disorder.

Joseph was hit by a passing driver on I-4 while trying to cross the roadway in front of the fair.

Since his death, several changes were implemented by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office to better control the large crowd of minors on Student Day, including more law enforcement officers roaming the crowd and a designated area for students to be taken if they are ejected from the fair.

“There's a tent right outside of Gate 4 where, if we have to eject or escort any juveniles out, we’re going to have them relocate there and be able to call a parent, so they can be picked up," said Major Sank Montoute with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

New policies also require students to have a valid school ID with them, an adult chaperon after 6 p.m. and along with their free ticket, students are given a free adult ticket.

“I think they should have started that to begin with, because, that way it lets the parents know where the kids are, better control to help law enforcement as well. It’s not all their responsibility," said Donna Hargrove, who came to the fair with her son and daughter on Friday.

The Joseph family still questions why students are admitted to the fair on Student Day prior to 6 p.m. without an adult and whether or not every student in the county should be given the day off from school to attend the fair.

They're calling for Student Day to be renamed in Joseph's honor.

“Every year they’re preparing to make another million plus dollars, and we’re preparing on another year of death. Another year without our child,"
said Andrew Joseph Junior, Joseph's father.

Authorities say three teenagers were ejected from the fair Friday, but under the new policy, a deputy took them to the designated area to call their parents to be taken home