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Diversity disputes increasingly touch Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Rainbow Pride flags fly in downtown St. Petersburg. Similar flags caused a stir at Seminole Middle School in recent days.
Rainbow Pride flags fly in downtown St. Petersburg. Similar flags caused a stir at Seminole Middle School in recent days. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Jun. 4
Updated Jun. 4

As diversity, race and equity issues take center stage in Florida’s education debate, incidents keep cropping up to indicate the situation is far from settled. Arguments, protests and fights continue to mark the landscape as Floridians attempt to cope with some core disagreements. Read on for the latest on these stories and more Florida education news.

Some Pinellas County middle school students got into a skirmish over Pride flags. The school suspended several students in the aftermath, and also plans to implement a new anti-bullying program. The story gained the attention of the Washington Post.

Diversity issues

Transgender student activists displayed Pride flags outside the office of state Sen. Kelli Stargel. They want the sponsor of Florida’s law barring transgender girls from girls’ school sports teams that they’re not going away, the Ledger reports. • Gov. Ron DeSantis continued to defend his decision to sign the measure into law, Florida Politics reports.

The Palm Beach County School Board removed the phrase ‘white advantage’ from its equity statement. A Democratic state lawmaker wants to censure the board for its action, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The State Board of Education is poised to tackle the issue of race in U.S. history lessons. State officials tout the proposed rule as straightforward, while some educators worry approval could lead to inferior teaching, the News Service of Florida reports.

School news

‘I feel amazing.’ Volusia and Flagler county high schools are among those holding in-person graduations, to the happiness of graduates, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. The celebrations come after what many deemed an unprecedented year, the News-Journal reports. • Duval County high schools rescheduled all their outdoor commencement ceremonies in anticipation of bad weather, the Florida Times-Union reports.

The St. Johns County school district’s new dress code advisory committee was supposed to meet. It postponed its session after media asked to attend what was planned as a closed-door session, WJXT reports. • Meanwhile, parents at the high school where the issues blew up expressed dissatisfaction with plans to reissue the school’s yearbook amid a dress code-related photo altering scandal, the St. Augustine Record reports.

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? A local homebuilder paid off all the unpaid meal balances for Santa Rosa County students, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Growing strong. The Palm Beach County school district broke ground on a new high school aimed at easing crowding at nearby campuses, WPTV reports. It’s the county’s first new high school since 2005, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Where have all the students gone? Martin County schools project a second consecutive year of enrollment declines, TC Palm reports.

Leadership

The Broward County school district is still seeking an interim superintendent. Its first slate of applicants didn’t appeal to the School Board, the Sun-Sentinel reports. The second round search will extend to external candidates, the Miami Herald reports.

The Manatee County School Board needs a new member. Scott Hopes resigned his position Wednesday, after taking the job of county administrator, the Bradenton Herald reports.

The Marion County School Board needs a new member. First elected in 2016, member Beth McCall resigned for family reasons, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

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Before you go ... Perhaps you’ve seen the adult Yo-Yo Ma perform. What about the 7-year-old prodigy? Check out this 1962 vintage clip.