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Conservative book banning effort arrives in Florida schools

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
Some parents in Florida, Texas and other states who say they are concerned about students being indoctrinated about sex and "critical race theory" have successfully petitioned their local school districts to remove certain books from their libraries.
Some parents in Florida, Texas and other states who say they are concerned about students being indoctrinated about sex and "critical race theory" have successfully petitioned their local school districts to remove certain books from their libraries. [ DREAMSTIME | Dreamstime ]
Published Nov. 15

Around the nation, conservative activists have begun challenging books they say don’t belong on school shelves. Many of the titles contain LGBTQ and race-related themes, and might include some references to controversial life experiences involving sex and violence. The fight has become increasingly bitter in Flagler County. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

“I’m not surprised at all.” The author of All Boys Aren’t Blue criticized the Flagler County school district’s move to ban his work, Flagler Live reports. A Flagler School Board member has filed a complaint with the Sheriff’s Office over the book’s appearance on some library shelves, WESH reports. A fellow board member rebuked her “rogue” colleague, who she said is destroying the district’s good work, Flagler Live reports.

Coronavirus concerns

Special session starts today. The Legislature convenes for a special session on COVID-related vaccine and mask issues. Much of the time will be spent discussing Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda. The House opens at 12:45 p.m. and the Senate at 1 p.m.

Still fighting after all these months. The state and federal departments of education remain at odds over school mask rules in Florida, Florida Phoenix reports. • Meanwhile, the Alachua County school district dropped its challenge of a state emergency rule banning strict mask mandates, the News Service of Florida. Other districts remain active in the case.

The standoff is over. A family that fought the Palm Beach County school district’s mask rule has sent the girl back to classes now that the rule is lifted, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Need a vaccine for your kids? The Martin County school district is scheduling clinics for families that want access to the Pfizer vaccine, TC Palm reports. • The Miami-Dade County school district has partnered the the University of Miami Health System to provide vaccines, WPLG reports. • Lee County schools are collaborating with a local hospital to make the inoculations available, WINK reports.

Hot topics

Academic freedom: University of Florida president Kent Fuchs’ task force to review faculty academic freedom has left some professors less than impressed with the initiative.

Member districts. The Sarasota County School Board’s majority has indicated a preference for a map that would draw two colleagues out of their zones. That’s not allowed in law, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Employee shortages: Almost half of Santa Rosa County’s substitute teachers have quit. District officials are exploring incentives to lure them back, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

Culture wars: The Alachua County school district has turned off commenting on its Facebook site amid a rise in personal attacks, WCJB reports.

Other school news

The Volusia County school district has big plans for an Ormond Beach elementary school. The campus rebuilding will come with efforts to revive the surrounding community, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

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The high school basketball season is upon us. Games in Miami-Dade County are expected to be canceled because of a dispute between referees and the FHSAA, the Miami Herald reports.

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