Florida education news: School choice, teachers with guns, secret searches and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Published April 8, 2019

SCHOOL CHOICES: The Hillsborough County school district prepares to reveal a series of new programs and options designed to attract more students back to the system. “We’ve got to make sure that our product that we’re offering our families is first class,” Superintendent Jeff Eakins told the Tampa Bay Times. “And we also have to start with the end in mind. Parents want to know that their children are going to have top quality jobs.”

TEACHERS WITH GUNS: Pasco County school district top officials say they will not support allowing teachers to carry guns in schools. The debate over whether to change the law relating to teachers with guns resumes this week in the Florida Legislature. The Sun-Sentinel reviews the arguments for and against the idea. Seeking to influence the discussion, a national gun control organization issues a report detailing incidents of guns being mishandled in schools, Education Week reports. • A state Senate committee will consider legislation to allow guns at religious institutions with schools, Florida Politics reports.

SECRET SEARCHES: Despite strong opposition, the Florida House advances a measure to allow more secrecy in state university president searches. Experts suggest the proposal is unneeded.

LABOR NEWS: Osceola County teachers reach a tentative contract agreement that includes tiered raises, the Osceola News-Gazette reports.

SAFETY CONCERNS: The Duval County school district pledges its support for community efforts to reduce violence, the Florida Times-Union reports. • Some Clay County parents raise alarms over a registered sex offender living near their children’s high school, WJAX reports. • The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission will get back to business, reviewing how school districts are progressing in improving school security and safety, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

IS IT ART? A Broward County high school art teacher faces suspension for showing her class a video of nude models that some teens said included suggestive poses, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SCHOOL BOUNDARIES: The Marion County School Board will consider redrawing nearly all its elementary school zones to even enrollment and ease crowding, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: Santa Rosa County superintendent Tim Wyrosdick announces his retirement plan, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Former Leon County superintendent Jackie Pons nears a settlement with the school district after threatening to sue because current superintendent Rocky Hanna would not rehire him after losing reelection, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

BUT IT HAPPENED AT A SCHOOL: The Lake County school district will reexamine its rules for allowing non-sanctioned events on its campuses after a person is seriously injured during a non-school football game, the Daily Commercial reports.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE: The Volusia County school district aims to reduce its high rate of student suspensions, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Volusia County school district administration recommends approval for one of three new charter school applicants, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT: The Polk County school district seeks to build better relationships with Haitian parents, the Ledger reports.

CALENDARS: The Leon County school district presents largely unchanged student calendars for the next two years after receiving parent feedback, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

SCHOOL PLANS: A proposed new development in St. Johns County offers new plans, including one without a disputed school site, the St. Augustine Record reports.

BAD ACTS: An Orange County teacher is arrested on child pornography charges, WFTV reports. • A Broward County parent accuses her daughter’s teacher of manhandling the girl so severely the girl landed in the hospital, WSVN reports. • A Volusia County teacher is placed on leave amid an investigation into a complaint about a sexual offense, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • One student stabs another at a Broward County high school in a fight over a girl, the Miami Herald reports.

TODAY: Senate Criminal Justice, 1:30 p.m. (On the agenda: SB 1238, guns at churches with schools)