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‘Critical race theory’ remains flash point in Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Activist Ben Frazier, left, is asks to leave after shouting chants of "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during a Board of Education meeting Thursday, where members banned critical race theory.
Activist Ben Frazier, left, is asks to leave after shouting chants of "Allow teachers to teach the truth" during a Board of Education meeting Thursday, where members banned critical race theory.
Published Oct. 11

For months, Floridians have kept a steady focus on whether school districts may impose mask mandates without opt-out provisions for their students and staff. The discussion over other heated issues that have riled many parents and other community members faded into the background. Recently, even though the mask battle remains for a handful of counties, the other topics have begun resurfacing — one in particular. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

COVID-19 cases are declining across Florida. It’s happening in districts with mask mandates and without. There have been exceptions, such as Freedom Crossing Academy in St. Johns County, the St. Augustine Record reports.

As a result, masks have become less of an issue in many school districts. The Brevard County School Board, one of those sanctioned for its strict rules, will reconsider its policy this week, WKMG reports.

Tensions remain, though, as other hot button topics are getting a new spark. The fight over history lessons and “critical race theory” has jumped back into the spotlight, with many expecting it has staying power through the elections.

Leadership issues

The Broward County School Board prohibited its interim superintendent choice from applying for the permanent position. It didn’t bar itself from offering, though. This week, the board plans to ask interim Vickie Cartwright to take the full-time job, the Sun-Sentinel reports. (Subscription required)

Is Alachua County’s superintendent qualified to hold the post? School Board members don’t agree on an answer, Mainstreet Daily News reports.

A candidate for Manatee County School Board wants voters to see past his past. He hacked elections office computers when running for Lee County supervisor of elections five years ago, the Bradenton Herald reports.

The Lee County school district issued a letter of support for the Guatemalan community. It did so after a School Board member came under fire for making disparaging comments, WINK reports.

The Indian River County School Board is considering new rules for public comment at meetings. Members say they want to eliminate political grandstanding. Some parents contend the proposed rules would limit their right to free speech, TC Palm reports.

School news

A second Duval County public school in a week promoted a Christian prayer activity. District officials are taking steps to avoid any confusion that the schools are getting involved in religion, the Florida Times-Union reports.

The St. Johns County school district is experiencing rapid growth. That’s exacerbated its struggles associated with staff shortages, WJXT reports.

Lee County school bus drivers are demanding better pay. They say their work conditions have become more difficult as the district cannot fill all vacant positions, WINK reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County teacher was arrested on allegations of a sexual affair with a minor teenage student. She reportedly is pregnant, WSVN reports.

Before you go ... Beatle John Lennon would have turned 81 over the weekend. His music withstands the test of time. Here’s his last No. 1 song.

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