Florida education news: Teachers with guns, transgender student rights, school climate and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
FILE- In this June 7, 2018 file photo Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission chair and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri gestures as he speaks during a commission meeting in Sunrise, Fla. Guiltieri says he now believes trained, volunteer teachers should have access to guns so they can stop shooters who get past other safeguards. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) MH101
FILE- In this June 7, 2018 file photo Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission chair and Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri gestures as he speaks during a commission meeting in Sunrise, Fla. Guiltieri says he now believes trained, volunteer teachers should have access to guns so they can stop shooters who get past other safeguards. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File) MH101
Published May 29

ARMING TEACHERS: Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri convinced a majority of Florida lawmakers to allow school districts to add classroom teachers to the school guardian mix as an extra line of defense. Now he’s trying to get his local School Board to agree. At least three board members say they’re seeing Gualtieri’s point of view. • The Okaloosa County School Board approves starting the guardian program, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS: The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear a Pennsylvania case on transgender students’ restroom and locker room use bolsters the Pasco County School Board’s stance on the subject.

SCHOOL CLIMATE: A Hillsborough County teacher survey reveals educators frustrated by large class sizes, misbehaving students and untrustworthy principals.

FUNDING: The Pasco County school district’s taxable value rises by more than $2 billion, including an important increase in new construction that will help boost property tax revenue.

TOP OF THE CLASS: Pasco County’s valedictorians • Some Brevard County high school graduates go all out in decorating their mortar boards, Florida Today reports.

CERTIFICATION: The Florida Department of Education clears its backlog of unprocessed teacher licensing applications, but doesn’t explain why it got so far behind, Florida Phoenix reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A planned new Okaloosa County charter high school sees higher student interest than anticipated, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • Four Duval County charter schools earn “high performing” status from the state, but school district officials raise concerns that the charters are drawing off strong district students rather than offering something different to struggling children, the Florida Times-Union reports.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: A new report suggests Florida schools over-diagnose black and Hispanic students as having learning disabilities, Education Week reports.

SUPERINTENDENTS: A special master conducts the first day of a hearing into whether suspended Okaloosa County superintendent Mary Beth Jackson should be removed from office, the Destin Log reports. • The Volusia County School Board votes to oust superintendent Tom Russell two months before his contract was to expire, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

PRESIDENT SEARCH: A plan to lower the qualifications for Miami Dade College’s next president leads some observers to suggest the process is tilted to favor a specific candidate, the Miami Herald reports.

BIG GIFT: The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind receives a $250,000 donation in honor of one of its board members, the St. Augustine Record reports.

SEE IT, REPORT IT: Broward County school district leaders want to see increased use of a phone app to report tips of possible school violence or bullying, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

GUNS ON CAMPUS: Three Hendry County teens are arrested in connection with an alleged firearm on school property, WINK reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

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