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Florida education news: Armed teachers, school board term limits, reading lessons and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Students and supporters of March For Our Lives held a rally opposing HB 7093 on the Old State Capitol steps on April 3, 2019 at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. HB 7093 proposes arming teachers.
MONICA HERNDON | Times Students and supporters of March For Our Lives held a rally opposing HB 7093 on the Old State Capitol steps on April 3, 2019 at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. HB 7093 proposes arming teachers.
Published Apr. 18, 2019

ARMED TEACHERS: The Florida Senate moves ahead with school security legislation that would allow classroom teachers to carry weapons. The members reject amendments to delete that provision, and to let parents opt out of classrooms with armed teachers, as the bill advances to its final reading. • School district leaders across northeast Florida span the spectrum from full support to total opposition, the Florida Times-Union reports. • More from Florida Phoenix, Sun-Sentinel.

TERM LIMITS: A measure to hold a statewide referendum on limiting school board member terms falters in a key Senate committee. More from Florida Politics.

READING LESSONS: Why do Hillsborough County schools have such a large percentage of low-performing readers? A special report from Marlene Sokol. With sidebars and advice. Visit the Gradebook at 9 a.m. for a podcast conversation about the issue.

STUDENT ABSENTEEISM: Pasco County School Board members call for added efforts to deal with students who miss too many days of classes.

CAMPUS SECURITY: A national organization rates the University of South Florida Tampa campus the least safe campus in Florida. USF rebuts the report.

TEACHER PROTESTS: Teachers at hundreds of schools across Florida hold a “walk-in” to bring attention to their demand for improved state funding of public education, WMNF reports. More from Panama City News Herald, St. Augustine Record, the Ledger.

SCHOOL DAYS: Parents in Palm Beach and Broward counties resist a proposal to have children return to classes ever earlier in August, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

HEALTHY SCHOOLS: The Miami-Dade County School Board discusses ways to share leftover cafeteria food with hungry children rather than throw it away, the Miami Times reports.

TEACHER TRAINING: The Flagler County school district joins with the University of North Florida to create a dual enrollment program aimed at preparing future teachers, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

AFTER MICHAEL: Bay County schools superintendent Bill Husfelt continues to bring attention to his district’s budget shortfall as it works to rebound from Hurricane Michael, the Panama City News Herald reports.

REVENUE SHARING: Palm Beach County School Board members adopt a resolution opposing a tax bill moving through the Florida House that would require districts to share referendum revenue with charter schools, the Palm Beach Post reports. The district currently is being sued by charter schools over its decision not to share its referendum funds.

CODE OF CONDUCT: The Collier County School Board considers expanding its zero tolerance policy relating to weapons on campus, to include “simulation” of gun use, the Naples Daily News reports.

EARLY EDUCATION: An annual national report on prekindergarten gives Florida’s program low marks for quality and funding, noting the state spends less on pre-k now than a decade ago, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS: Several Duval County residents attend a forum to voice disapproval of a proposal to transform certain high schools into grade 6-12 campuses, WJAX reports.

BAD ACTS: A Citrus County school bus driver is fired on accusations he shut the bus doors on a student’s arms, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

TODAY: Senate Appropriations, 9 a.m. (On the agenda: SB 7070 vouchers, SB 770 workforce education, SB 190 Bright Futures scholarships)

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. The Pinellas County school system is offering driver education camps to hundreds of students like this one over the summer. The program will be held over two sessions at nine high school campuses across the county.
  2. Incoming Superintendent Addison Davis (center) and School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) sign Davis' contract with the Hillsborough County School District after it was unanimously approved by the school board on February 18, 2020.
  3. Incoming Hillsborough School Superintendent Addison Davis (center), School Board Chair Melissa Snively (right) and the other board members pose as Davis signs his contract with the district on Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved the contract beforehand.
  4. Jarvis Delon West was arrested on child neglect charges after he didn't report an employee at AMI Kids who slammed a boy to the ground, according to police.
  5. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  6. Prekindergarten students at James B. Sanderlin IB World School in St. Petersburg, show the peace sign during an assembly in 2012. New state data show children in prekindergarten are better prepared for kindergarten than those who don't attend.
  7. Leon County fifth-grader Ingrid Hanley asks the Senate Education Committee not to adopt legislation that would get tougher on D-rated schools, during a Feb. 17, 2020, session.
  8. Nadia King, 6, is smiles for a photo. The special-needs student was taken from school Feb. 4 and placed in a mental health facility under Florida's Baker Act, and now her mother and a team of attorneys are asking why.
  9. The Voluntary Prekindergarten room is one feature of the new Bardmoor Branch of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg. The location also includes a child-care center and Preschool Academy.
  10. FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. School districts continue to improve their security plans in the aftermath. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File)
  11. Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis (wearing a pink tie), center, takes photos with the  Hillsborough County Public Schools board members after being voted unaminous as the new incoming superintendent in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, January 21, 2020.
  12. University of Florida students walk through Turlington Plaza in between classes on Thursday afternoon, February 13, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla.