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Florida school district curtails data sharing with law enforcement

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Danielle Biggs, a teacher at Veteran's Elementary School in Wesley Chapel, speaks out against student information and data sharing between the Pasco County Schools and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office during a Pasco School Board meeting in December. The district modified its agreement with the Sheriff's Office on May 4, 2021.
Danielle Biggs, a teacher at Veteran's Elementary School in Wesley Chapel, speaks out against student information and data sharing between the Pasco County Schools and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office during a Pasco School Board meeting in December. The district modified its agreement with the Sheriff's Office on May 4, 2021. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published May 5
Updated May 5

The Pasco County school district has come under increasing criticism — and scrutiny — for its controversial practice of sharing student data with the local Sheriff’s Office. Federal officials recently launched an investigation into the program, questioning its legality. This week, the district altered its agreement with law enforcement. Read on for the latest on that story and other Florida education news.

The Pasco School Board voted to dramatically decrease how law enforcement may use student information. Critics argued the move wasn’t good enough.

Coronavirus concerns

Tampa Bay area school districts announced plans to end mandatory masks in the coming weeks. Angry anti-mask advocates called for faster action. • Palm Beach County school mask opponents are planning protests, WPTV reports. • The Manatee County School Board plans to talk about eliminating its mask rule when it meets May 25, the Bradenton Herald reports. • The Bay County School Board will discuss the issue next week, the Panama City News Herald reports. • Here’s more detail about what the governor’s order does and doesn’t do.

Back to school after months away. Returning to classes months of missed lessons hasn’t always been easy for one Broward County teen, but she’s getting by with some added support, WLRN reports.

The move to remote learning last spring revealed internet deserts across Florida. The Palm Beach County school district is working with partners to provide service to about 25,000 families, WPTV reports.

Leadership

The Hillsborough County School Board continued to discuss how to evaluate its superintendent’s performance. Everyone is not on the same page.

Who’s next? The Lee County School Board took steps to find an interim superintendent to replace its retiring chief executive, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Let the negotiations begin. A Miami-Dade County school district attorney will help the Broward County school district prepare a severance package for outgoing superintendent Robert Runcie, the Miami Herald reports.

Teacher contract bargaining sessions are supposed to be open to the public. The Nassau County superintendent and School Board face accusations that they violated Florida’s Sunshine Laws in reaching an agreement with their union, the Fernandina Beach News Leader reports.

Tallahassee action

The Legislature sent Gov. Ron DeSantis two bills aimed at improving prekindergarten programs and accountability. He signed them, TC Palm reports.

Florida teacher of the year finalists are being named. One is from Volusia County, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. • Another is from Duval County, the Florida Times-Union reports.

The state’s Principal of the Year also was announced by the Department of Education. It’s Jen Halter of Clay County’s Green Cove Springs Junior High, WJXT reports.

Hot topics

‘You need to stop sexualizing 14-year-old girls.’ A Nassau County middle schooler was suspended after clashing with administrators over her outfit and their application of the dress code, WJXT reports.

Racism must go. The Palm Beach County School Board prepares to adopt new core principles, including its first equity statement, the Palm Beach Post reports.

A Hendry County principal is under investigation for paddling a student. The child’s mother took a risk in recording the action, because of her own immigration status, WINK reports.

Want to play sports? Orange County student-athletes will have to get a heart screening first, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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Before you go ... Yes, yes. May the fourth was yesterday. But still ...