Florida education news: Constitution revision, student activism, smoking in school and more

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission debates a proposal to allow a state charter school authorizer on March 21, 2018. [The Florida Channel]
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission debates a proposal to allow a state charter school authorizer on March 21, 2018. [The Florida Channel]
Published March 22 2018

CONSTITUTION REVISION: Florida's once every 20 years process of formally amending the state constitution took a giant step forward with the winnowing down of proposals to review for official ballot drafting. Among the education issues moving ahead were school board member term limits and the creation of a state charter school authorizer. Items that didn't progress included a ban on the local election of district superintendents and, perhaps most surprisingly, a move to end the Blaine Amendment, which forbids the use of state tax revenue to aid religious institutions. After a lengthy debate, where support seemed strong, the commission tabled the proposal and didn't return to it. The advanced items go to the commission's Style and Drafting committee today and Friday, with a final vote on whether to place the ideas before voters slated for April. (Agenda)

STUDENT ACTIVISM: Tampa-area high school students join the national movement pushing for gun control and school safety as they prepare for the weekend's March For Our Lives.

SMOKING IN THE BOYS (AND GIRLS) ROOM: A growing number of Pinellas County students are nabbed for smoking in school. The district has a clinic for that.

BAD ACTS: A Hernando County teacher is reprimanded for dragging a special needs student across the floor by her ponytail.

SECURITY: Lee County schools adds armed deputies on all campuses for the rest of the year, until more resource officers can be hired, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • Miami-Dade County schools will add more armed and unarmed security, in addition to other measures such as requiring secondary students to carry ID at all times, the Miami Herald reports. • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students will be allowed to carry only clear backpacks, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Brevard County schools continue to deal with threats daily, Florida Today reports. • St. Johns County parents tell their School Board they don't want armed teachers in schools, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Sarasota County will hire off-duty officers to elementary schools without security, the Herald-Tribune reports.

INSURANCE PLAN: Seven south Florida school districts join a growing number of districts nationally in purchasing active shooter insurance, Insurance Journal reports.

BULLYING: A Bay County family wants school officials held responsible for their daughter's suicide after she was bullied, WFTS reports.

TAXES: Manatee County school district officials move to the next phase of planning after their local property tax referendum passes, the Bradenton Herald reports. • Sarasota County school district leaders examine the factors behind their tax referendum record result, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TURNAROUNDS: A new principal uses positivity as part of his effort to improve his struggling Volusia County elementary school, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

DISTRICT OFFICES: The Martin County school district will move its headquarters a short distance from its current location, TC Palm reports.

IN COURT: An Okaloosa County parent files a lawsuit against the district and several officials involved in an ongoing child abuse investigation, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

INNOVATION: The Marion County school district is one of 10 recognized by the International Center for Leadership in Education, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

LEADERSHIP: Florida's director of school choice is a finalist to lead Tennessee's turnaround district, Chalkbeat reports.