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Florida schools focus on racial justice during Black History Month

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
The Pinellas County school district renegotiated its contracts with law enforcement without much public notice. The NAACP called foul. [JAY CONNER]
The Pinellas County school district renegotiated its contracts with law enforcement without much public notice. The NAACP called foul. [JAY CONNER]
Published Feb. 8

Disproportionate disciplinary action against students in minority groups long has been a point of contention for schools. Heightened attention to the issue has arisen in the past year, as communities reacted to a spate of police violence against Black people and groups renewed their calls for social and racial justice. So imagine the red flags flying as one Florida school district renegotiated its agreements with law enforcement, but without input from the community. The issue comes to a head as Black History Month ensues. Read on for that and more Florida education news.

The Pinellas County School Board had new contracts with 13 police agencies poised for a vote without discussion. One of its newest members called foul.

Schools across the state have begun marking African-American history month. Brevard County educators said the way the lessons are presented is critical, Florida Today reports.

Solidarity. A group of Osceola County students rallied in support of a student who was slammed to the ground by a school resource officer, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Coronavirus concerns

The University of Florida is back to pre-pandemic numbers of in-person classes. Students and faculty members are protesting.

Universities have seen the number of first-generation and low-income applicants drop. The pandemic appears a key culprit, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Many students haven’t been inside their schools in nearly a year. WLRN News unveiled its new series Class of Covid to detail some of the issues they face.

Lost classroom time means many students need to catch up. A Charlotte County elementary school expanded its after-school tutoring program to meet the need, the Charlotte Sun reports.

Broward County school district lawyers dug up social media photos of teachers to make their case for requiring them to return to campus. The Broward Teachers Union has called for an investigation into the lawyers, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Manatee County School Board agreed to revisit its mask mandate every 90 days. It’s time for the next review, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Charter school changes

Santa Rosa County is about to get its third charter school. It will offer all-virtual classes, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

The Lake Wales charter school system has removed one of its principals. It’s investigating accusations that she created a hostile work environment, the Ledger reports.

In other school news

The honors keep rolling in. The Seminole County school district recognized its 2021 Teacher of the Year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The Palm Beach County school district’s inspector general will have to keep making her reports available to the public. The School Board did agree to some minor modifications in the timing of their release, the Palm Beach Post reports.

What’s the law on that? A Leon County middle school launched a pre-law magnet program, one of the first in north Florida, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The school’s chorus teacher works to keep his students creative during the pandemic, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

That’s an abrupt exit. Chiles High School in Leon County removed its boys and girls basketball coaches, effective immediately and without explanation, WTXL reports.

From the police blotter ... An Okaloosa County middle school teacher was arrested on accusations of having a sexual relationship with a minor student, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • A Palm Beach County high school teacher was arrested on allegations of attempting to pursue a sexual relationship with a student, WPTV reports.

Before you go ... For our fans of education stories and dog videos, here’s something you might like — a dog that helps kindergartners learn to read.