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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Lawmakers file two bills Florida high school students might like



It's not often that lawmakers write legislation that focuses on the lifestyles of teenagers. They're tackling a couple of those issues this year.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Okaloosa Co., has filed a bill (HB 67) that would prevent Florida high schools from beginning classes before 8 a.m. His proposal comes just weeks after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan suggested that teens could learn more if schools started later in the day.

“There’s overwhelming science suggesting students at the high school level simply cannot learn at a certain point of the morning,” Gaetz told the Northwest Florida Daily News. “I remember those days, I just don’t remember those classes.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Palm Beach Co., has his eye on protecting Floridians from the dumb things they might put on their social media accounts, as many teens are apt to do. He's filed a bill (SB 198) that would bar employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide access to their Facebook, Twitter and other feeds in order to vet them before making a hiring decision.

People, especially kids, do dumb things and then write about them (or post pictures) that the world can often see. If they're savvy enough to keep their accounts private, the question is how much can employers pry and then do something about a teen indiscretion.

The Cornell HR Review urged caution in a recent article:

"Employers’ review of applicants’ and employees’ social media sites can be an extremely valuable tool, but should be used in a manner consistent with lawful hiring and separation practices.  When used properly, social media can be a powerful means of candidate identification, selection, and retention.

"However, employers must have comprehensive and compliant social media policies that are not overly broad, and which address privacy, lawful access, accuracy, equal protection, permissible and impermissible activities, and conduct within employment practices."

No companion bills have been submitted yet for either proposal. Committees are scheduled to meet again the week of Oct. 7.


[Last modified: Friday, September 27, 2013 10:11am]


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