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Some Florida school board members say they are being threatened, harassed

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed federal officials to meet with local law enforcement across the nation to discuss strategies to deal with harassment and threats against school board members.    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Attorney General Merrick Garland has instructed federal officials to meet with local law enforcement across the nation to discuss strategies to deal with harassment and threats against school board members. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) [ J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE | AP ]
Published Oct. 15

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how school board members in Florida and elsewhere should deal with members of the public who come to complain about issues — especially when the speakers go beyond stating their views. Some have called for increased law enforcement activity to investigate what they’ve called “domestic terrorism,” a view that’s also been rebuked as overreach. But in some instances, concerns have risen beyond First Amendment rights to speak out. Some specific examples are coming from the Sunshine State. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

Brevard County School Board member Jennifer Jenkins spoke with MSNBC about her confrontations with residents after her board meeting comments went viral. Jenkins said she and her neighbors have been harassed and threatened in ways that are unacceptable, Florida Today reports. “You know the majority of people support me … but unfortunately it takes one person to terrorize you,” she said. “And when there’s no consequences for it, it becomes the norm and it becomes acceptable.”

Hot topics

School masks: The Brevard and Orange county school boards sent the state Department of Education a list of their member salaries in response to a demand that they end strict mask mandates or face financial sanctions, WMFE reports.

‘Critical race theory’: A Sarasota County elementary school removed a lesson that included reference to Black Lives Matter after parents complained it ‘may be controversial’ and in conflict with state law, WUSF reports.

Testing: Performance on the national NAEP exam declined. Experts aren’t blaming the pandemic, Chalkbeat reports.

Redistricting: The Volusia County Commission and School Board plan to meet for a discussion on member districts. Their goal is to walk away with a single map for both, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Other school news

Polk County schools are trying to make it easier for parents to apply for choice options. They created three enrollment periods with no limits on choices, the Ledger reports.

Students and families at Alachua County schools evacuated for bomb threats are still fearful. Some are talking about leaving their schools until the situation is better in hand, WUFT reports.

Marion County schools have seen an increase in school bus fights. The district is warning families that bus transportation is a privilege that can be removed, WKMG reports.

Attending an alternative school isn’t always fun. A teacher at Sarasota County’s Triad school is using arts and gardening to grab students’ attention, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Some Broward County School Board members want to cancel a training program run by group associated with Scientology. Administration officials cautioned that the district cannot discriminate based on religion, the Sun-Sentinel reports. (Subscription required)

From the police blotter ... A Brevard County teen was arrested after being caught with a loaded handgun in a high school parking lot, WKMG reports.

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

Before you go ... Anybody up for a little classic(al) rock? Here’s the latest from 2Cellos.

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