Florida education news: School safety, education policy, free speech and more

Sen. Lauren Book, D-Hollywood.
Sen. Lauren Book, D-Hollywood.
Published March 6

"NEVER AGAIN": Teary-eyed and often choked up, state Sen. Lauren Book — a Democrat who represents the Parkland area — stood before her colleagues and acknowledged the shortcomings of the Senate's school safety bill. It included things Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students passionately asked not to have (armed school employees), and it didn't encompass ideas they demanded (an assault weapon ban). But the Legislature could not "let the perfect be the enemy of the good," Book said, and let the tragedy pass without doing anything. She urged the Senate to compromise and adopt the legislation. It did. • Bay County officials begin planning for immediate safety needs rather than wait for legislation to trickle down, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Four additional officers are assigned to Broward County schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • More from Tallahassee Democrat.

#HB7055: The Florida House adopted the Senate's version of the omnibus education policy bill, passing the measure along to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. The bill grants Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students a pass on this year's state tests and their consequences, WLRN reports.

CAN SHE SAY THAT? A Citrus County educator faces disciplinary action for her white nationalist podcast. Experts say the way teachers present their views, and exactly what they say, can make a difference in determining whether free speech rights should prevail. • The teacher has no record of previous complaints, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

HIGHER ED: Florida lawmakers approve a higher education package that expands Bright Futures scholarships and consolidates the University of South Florida's campuses. More from News Service of Florida.

OUSTED: A Marion County principal is removed for failing to make a timely report to authorities after learning a student might have been abused, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

DIVERSITY: The St. Johns County school district implements a plan to recruit more minority teachers, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Florida Institute of Technology gets its first Black Student Union, Florida Today reports.

STRUGGLING SCHOOL: A new Orange County school faces troubles in its inaugural year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

ONLINE EDUCATION: St. Johns Virtual School grows slowly as students seek more flexibility with their classes, the St. Augustine Record reports.

TODAY: Senate session, 10 a.m. • House session, 10:30 a.m.