Florida education news: School security, Common Core, student activism and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gov. Ron DeSantis explains his executive order implementing recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission during a Feb. 13, 2019, news conference in Brevard County. [Gov. Ron DeSantis press office]
Gov. Ron DeSantis explains his executive order implementing recommendations from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission during a Feb. 13, 2019, news conference in Brevard County. [Gov. Ron DeSantis press office]
Published February 14
Updated February 14

DESANTIS ON SECURITY: Gov. Ron DeSantis issues an executive order mandating several administrative steps aimed at making Florida schools safer. He also calls for a grand jury to investigate whether any school districts have violated state law in their responses to security requirements in law. The request is to look at all districts, but the target is Broward County, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from the Miami Herald, Associated Press, WLRN.

SCHOOL THREATS: A report of a potential shooter on a Hillsborough County middle school campus sends law enforcement into action. The situation turned out to be a hoax, and a 12-year-old girl now faces felony charges. • Hundreds of Lee County students skip school amid a spate of threats of violence to their campuses, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. • A Brevard County school steps up its law enforcement patrols after receiving threats on social media, Florida Today reports. • Brevard County law enforcement say they take threats more seriously than ever, yet worry that the number and method of circulating threats could overwhelm them, Florida Today reports.

STUDENT ACTIVISM: A 15-year-old high school freshman leads the charge to stop the Pasco County school district from closing the elementary school in his poor, rural community.

COMMON CORE: The Pasco County school district forges ahead with plans to adopt new textbooks despite calls to change state academic standards.

GETTING THERE: Hillsborough County government officials examine the costs of traffic concerns that emerge when new schools are built.

HOME SCHOOLING: A growing number of Hernando County parents decide to educate their children at home.

RETIRING: Donald Eastman III announces his retirement as Eckerd College president after 18 years at the helm.

SHUT IT DOWN? State Rep. Randy Fine offers the possibility of closing the University of Central Florida for 5 to 10 years because of its financial mismanagement, Orlando Weekly reports. After causing a stir, Fine says his comment wasn’t literal, the Orlando Sentinel reports. More from Florida Politics, WUFT.

GUARDIAN SPENDING: Florida schools have spent more than $2 million on guns to arm newly required guards, the News Service of Florida reports.

MAKING SCHOOLS SAFER: Charlotte County schools have taken several steps to improve security in the year after the Parkland shooting, the Charlotte Sun reports. • Manatee County district officials tout the school safety actions they’ve implemented, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Lee County schools have focused on safety and mental health services, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

ONE YEAR LATER: A TEACHER’S PERSPECTIVE: Teacher Cynthia Libman moved from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High to a Palm Beach middle school, but still reflects daily on what happened the day a gunman shot up her school, the Palm Beach Post reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: The Polk County School Board explores sites for a new school to serve a large planned subdivision, the Ledger reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Florida State University expands its teacher training program for educating children with autism, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BUDGET CUTS: Indian River County schools have cut about $3.4 million in spending, and officials are looking for other places to scale back, TC Palm reports.

HE STAYS: The Brevard County School Board refuses to fire a teacher accused of shoving a student but who did not face any charges, Florida Today reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

Visit the Gradebook at 8 a.m. for a podcast on the pros and cons of having armed teachers in classrooms, featuring Marjory Stoneman Douglas High teacher Sarah Lerner, Moms Demand Action leader Gay Valimont and MSD Public Safety Commission chairman Bob Gualtieri.

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