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Florida education news: School volunteers, tardiness and a student’s pro-life club

A roundup of stories from around the state.
A school bus travels the early morning streets. One Marion County elementary school will change its start time because some parents say they can't get their kids to school before the first bell.
A school bus travels the early morning streets. One Marion County elementary school will change its start time because some parents say they can't get their kids to school before the first bell.
Published Nov. 11

GETTING INVOLVED: A Hillsborough County man with arrests and prison time in his past seeks to get involved in his children’s school, as schools encourage parents to do. Yet his efforts are spurned after the district learns of his history and raises safety concerns.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: A high-performing independent charter school in Miami-Dade County closes its doors because of low enrollment and ‘subpar’ facilities, with plans to transfer its operations to a connected for-profit charter group, WLRN reports. • An approved but contested Lake County charter school seeks an extra year to open, arguing a lawsuit prevented it from its originally planned debut, the Daily Commercial reports.

MEDICINE CABINET: Florida lawmakers will consider providing all schools with a a drug called naxolone that is used to help people who stop breathing, the News Service of Florida reports.

MARION COUNTY MESS: The biggest supporter of Marion County’s embattled superintendent, who continues to fight with the School Board, makes a public call for whistleblowers to step forward with claims of bullying by board members, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: A Marion County elementary school with student tardiness problems will begin its class day 10 minutes later to give parents more room to get to school on time, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

CLASSROOM TECH: A Miami-Dade County elementary school receives donated new computers on National STEAM Day, CBS4 News reports.

TOP TEACHERS: Duval County names its Teacher of the Year semifinalists, the Florida Times-Union reports.

CONTRACT TALKS: Orange County teachers reach a tentative contract settlement with the district, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

CLUB CONTROVERSY: A Collier County high school student fights her school’s denial of her request to start a pro-life club, the Catholic News Agency reports.

FIRED: A Brevard County elementary school teacher loses her job amid accusations she cursed at students and called them ‘stupid,’ WFTV reports. • An Orange County school resource officer is fired after a video surfaces showing he used excessive force against a student, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

NEEDS REMEDIATION: A Columbia County teacher accused of bullying students is not disciplined by the district, but is referred for sensitivity training, WJXT reports.

IN COURT: A Palm Beach County parent accuses a teaching assistant at his son’s elementary school of choking his 5-year-old, the Palm Beach Post reports.

TODAY: Veterans Day


  1. More than 1,300 summer and fall graduates were eligible to participate in the morning or afternoon commencement ceremonies Dec. 11 at the Pasco-Hernando State College New Port Richey campus. Approximately 345 degrees and certificates were conferred. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
    Two ceremonies were held at the New Port Richey campus.
  2. Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins, shown at Mort Elementary School in 2016, is retiring effective June 30. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
    Jeff Eakins, the current superintendent, is retiring, effective June 30.
  3. Hillsborough county parents can check the district's website for their child's bus route and their school's bus schedule. Visit, click the link under "Preparing for Back to School," then find the links for "Bus Schedule" and "Bus Availability." For more information, call (813) 982-5500. [SKIP O'ROURKE  |   Times]
    Our running list of the candidates to replace superintendent Jeff Eakins includes top educators with a wide range of experience.
  4. A vigil at Pine Trails Park in Parkland for victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Credit: Al Diaz, Miami Herald
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Some schools have already closed for the holidays, but everyone should be off by the end of the day Dec. 20. [Times (2015)]
    Some schools are closing for the holidays this week; others won’t be done for a few days. Then it’s lights out until early January.
  6. Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg, presents his bill on civics education to the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Dec. 11, 2019. The legislation received unanimous bipartisan support. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘Democracy is not a spectator sport,’ sponsor Rep. Ben Diamond reminds colleagues.
  7. This Sept. 12, 2019 file photo shows a University of Tennessee shirt in Knoxville, Tenn., using the design of a Florida fourth-grader who was bullied.  Sales of the T-shirt have raised over $950,000 for an anti-bullying organization. Tennessee officials said Wednesday that 112,715 shirts have been sold in the three months since it was created. (AP Photo/Steve Megargee, File) [STEVE MEGARGEE  |  AP]
    Tennessee officials said Wednesday that 112,715 shirts have been sold in the past three months.
  8. Haley Manigold, second from left, and Armwood High School classmates Maria Medina and Madison Harvey take a photo with Sen. Tom Lee, who is sponsoring their legislation, and teacher Tony Pirotta.  They presented their bill in the Senate Education Committee on Dec. 9, 2019. [EMILY L. MAHONEY  |  Times Staff]
    Armwood High senior Haley Manigold discusses her effort to convince lawmakers to adopt testing legislation.
  9. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
DL Tre'von Riggins (98) on the field during spring football practice at Lakewood High School in in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.  [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. 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 School Board will consider a $2.2 million package at its Dec. 17 meeting.