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Florida schools can’t warn of threats they don’t know about, judge says

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Students are brought out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the 2018 shooting. A judge found the school district wasn't responsible for warning students and staff about the potential threat of the shooter. (Getty Images 2018)
Students are brought out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the 2018 shooting. A judge found the school district wasn't responsible for warning students and staff about the potential threat of the shooter. (Getty Images 2018)
Published Feb. 9

School safety remains a priority for Floridians, still heightened since the 2018 shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Lawmakers have passed several laws aimed at increasing the protection of students and staff. But there’s only so much a school can do, as a judge pointedly noted this week. Read on for the latest on this story and other Florida education news.

In a key ruling, a judge found that Broward County schools had no responsibility to warn students of the potential threat of Nikolas Cruz. “The district had no control over” the Parkland school shooter, the judge wrote, as the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Stop making threats. A Pinellas County middle schooler faces felony charges after allegedly making school shooting threats on social media. • A fourth Flagler County student in two weeks was arrested on accusations of threatening violence against a school, Flagler Live reports.

Counselors, not cops. A group of Lake County residents rallied for the school district to remove officers from campuses, WKMG reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Where have all the children gone? Broward County school social worker Lilia Francois endeavors to find those who have lost contact with their campuses, WLRN reports. See the Florida public broadcasting special report Class of Covid for several related stories. • South Florida high schools are mostly empty during the pandemic, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Declining enrollment statewide has educators and policy makers concerned about long-term effects, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Testing time is near. Some Florida parents are calling on the state to cancel the annual assessments, WPTV reports.

Many students — particularly those in remote learning — have fallen behind. The Osceola County school district has launched a Saturday school program to help, WKMG reports.

Teaching during a pandemic comes with a different set of challenges. Florida Gulf Coast University student-teachers are learning new methods to do it, WINK reports.

Want federal funding? U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida filed legislation requiring schools to open for in-person instruction in order to qualify for the money, WCNC reports.

Other school news

Talking about equity isn’t always easy. The Hernando County school district will train employees to deal with unconscious bias, the Hernando Sun reports.

A new state audit questioned the way Bay County schools spent their construction money after Hurricane Michael. It arrived as the district is asking voters to increase local taxes, WMBB reports.

The Volusia County school district plans to shutter the only beachside elementary school in Ormond Beach. City officials want to stop the move, WFTV reports.

Two finalists are in the running to become Seminole County’s next superintendent. One of them could get the nod today, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... African-American history is all around you in Florida, if you know where to look. The City of Miami published this video a couple of years back to highlight some of the people and places that forged the way for those who follow.