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Florida education news: school security concerns, class disruption, learning Chinese and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, students wear clear backpacks, one of a number of security measures that came into play after last year's shooting at the school. Another measure -- a state database designed to flag troubling patterns among students -- is being criticized by civil rights groups as too invasive. [Associated Press]
Published Jul. 10

PARKLAND: Civil rights groups have banded together to fight against the state’s proposed student security database, the Tampa Bay Times reports. In a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday, the 32 groups wrote that the still-developing database is an attempt at “mass surveillance” that could stir fear among students.

DISCIPLINE: Wharton High had far more students removed for disruption last year than any other school in Hillsborough County, the Tampa Bay Times reports. It was the school’s first year under a new principal.

SUMMER SCHOOL: A Chinese school in Tampa is offering classes through the end of summer to meet the demand of those wanting to learn the language, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Students include people traveling to China, children whose parents want them to learn Chinese and a karate instructor who wants to communicate better with those in his class.

CHARGES DROPPED : Prosecutors have dropped charges against an 18-year-old Port Charlotte student who was arrested in April after drawing an image that depicted violence against a teacher, the Port Charlotte Sun reports. His lawyer says the picture was simply a “bad joke.”

NEW LEADERSHIP: Lake County school superintendent Diane Kornegay was elected to the Florida Association of District School Superintendents’ board of directors Tuesday, the Daily Commercial reports.

TEST INVESTIGATION: Volusia County school will release on Monday results of its investigation into fake Advanced Placement tests given to students as part of a principal’s “experiment,” the News-Journal reports.

OUSTED PRINCIPAL: The Palm Beach County principal removed after refusing to say the Holocaust is a historical fact is making false claims about his firing, the Palm Beach Post reports. He says he was removed because a parent made untrue statements about him, which is not accurate.

MISSPENDING: University of Central Florida leaders have approved a plan that should help them move past a construction spending controversy that drew criticism from state education leaders, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

TAXES: Clay County commissioners unanimously rejected placing a half-cent sales tax for schools on voters’ ballots this year, asking the School Board for more time and details, the Times-Union reports.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  2. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.
  3. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  4. Randy Koenigsfeld, right, has retired as Schwettman Education Center principal after a decade in the job. Guidance counselor Mary Jones is with him in this photo from a recent open house. Pasco County school district
    Several staff members have already made a pitch for their assistant principal to take over the alternative school.
  5. Vials of medical marijuana oil. [Monica Herndon | Tampa Bay Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. The Pasco County school district is considering adopting a policy for student medical marijuana use on district property. [Getty Images]
    The rule will not change the district’s current approach to the touchy topic.
  7. Shown in 2002, Carolyn Hill, then the principal of Kenly Elementary School in east Tampa, celebrated after 78 of her students improved their state scores and were treated to lunch at The Colonnade Restaurant. Hill, now deceased, might be honored Tuesday as the Hillsborough County School Board considers naming a school for her in the SouthShore area. STAFF  |  Tampa Bay Times
    School Board members will select a name on Tuesday
  8. Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke welcomes the crowd at a "listening session" Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019 to discuss changes in the Florida's education standards. A similar session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Jefferson High, 4401 W Cypress St. in Tampa. The Florida Channel
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  9. The Pinellas School Board recognized James Krull as the district's bus Driver of the Year at its meeting Tuesday. From left are board members Bill Dudley, Eileen Long, Carol Cook, Rene Flowers, Krull, and board members Nicole Carr, Joanne Lentino and Lisa Cane. Pinellas County Schools
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  10. In this image from a telecast by The Florida Channel, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran speaks to a Gainesville crowd that came to discuss revisions to the state's education standards this past week. “We’re going to end up with the world’s best standards,” Corcoran said. The Florida Channel
    The effort, ordered by Gov. Ron DeSantis, aims to transform the way students learn in public schools. A “listening session” is set for Tampa’s Jefferson High.
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