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Student TikTok pranks, threats hamper Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
A boy's restroom at Zephyrhills High School was damaged as part of a student trend of stealing or vandalizing school property and putting a video of the 'devious lick' on TikTok.
A boy's restroom at Zephyrhills High School was damaged as part of a student trend of stealing or vandalizing school property and putting a video of the 'devious lick' on TikTok. [ Courtesy of Zephyrhills High ]
Published Sep. 16

Even with all the big issues taking place in Florida education — attempting to recover lost lessons, determining pandemic protocols, finding enough workers to fill classrooms and drive buses among them — one thing remains unchanged. Kids still have ways to make ill-advised decisions, even after getting warning after warning. We’ve read many stories about the “joke” threats of violence against schools, including one today, regardless of messaging that such actions are felonies. Now comes the latest not-so-harmless prank, spurred on by social media. Read on for the latest on that story plus more Florida education news.

What’s a ‘devious lick’? In Pasco County schools, it means stolen and damaged property — usually in restrooms — videotaped and shared on TikTok. And school leaders are not happy about it. • It’s happening in Orange County schools, too, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Seminole County schools have started suspending students over their “licks,” WOFL reports. • The Collier and Glades school districts are taking steps to discipline students over such activities, as well, WINK reports.

It’s not just Florida. One North Carolina school has limited student restroom use because of the “disturbing vandalism” there, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Gov. Ron DeSantis’s ban on school mask mandates remains in effect. A federal judge declined to issue an injunction in a case that has parents contending the governor’s rule violates their children’s right to a free public education, the News Service of Florida reports. The judge wrote that the parents did not avail themselves of all administrative remedies, and their children had not been denied an education. You can read the ruling here. More from the Miami Herald.

South Florida students are being quarantined in rising numbers. Schools are looking into providing immediate rapid testing to limit the numbers to only those who are positive, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

A substitute teacher shortage is taking its toll on Tampa-area schools. It’s been exacerbated by the pandemic, WFTS reports.

Other school news

The search for a new president at the University of South Florida is in high gear. Trustees say they hope to have a permanent leader selected by January.

Response continued to pour in regarding Gov. DeSantis’s call to end the Florida Standards Assessments. The general idea won praise, WFTX reports. But many people said the announcement raised several unanswered questions, Spectrum 13 reports. More from The 74.

The positive vibe can’t last forever, though, as the fight against “critical race theory” rages on. State Rep. Randy Fine filed legislation to bar the concept from all levels of education, including teacher training, as well as other areas of government, Florida Politics reports.

Let the negotiations begin. Brevard County teacher union representatives are seeking more supports for members who need drug or alcohol rehabilitation, Florida Today reports.

It’s time for redistricting. The Clay County School Board plans to redraw its member districts by the end of the year, Clay Today reports.

A Duval County school faced a lockdown after a report of a gun on campus. Some parents complained the district did not provide information fast enough, and did not let their children use cell phones to call them, WJXT reports.

From the police blotter ... The dean of an Osceola County academy was arrested on allegations of having sex with a student, WKMG reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is right here.

Before you go ... Marvel’s What If ...? show offers an intriguing concept. But what do you think about this past week’s zombie theme? Too much?

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