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Florida schools react to increased parent, public participation

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
People attend a regular meeting of the Pinellas County school board on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Parent and resident involvement in school board politics has grown over the past year.
People attend a regular meeting of the Pinellas County school board on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. Parent and resident involvement in school board politics has grown over the past year. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Nov. 18

The role parents and the public play in the public school system continues to gain attention throughout Florida, as some raise questions and concerns about book content and other issues. As they demand a bigger voice, some districts are reacting by closing off some aspects of commenting, while others are launching investigations. Read on for the latest on that story and more Florida education news.

The Pasco County school district closed its social media to public comments. Officials said residents still have plenty of other ways to interact with the district.

A woman was dragged out of a Lee County School Board meeting. She was attempting to speak about the board’s chairperson selection process, and had been deemed out of order, WFTX reports.

More on parent/public interaction

The push to ban books is growing. In Flagler County, parents and students who gathered to protest the possible removal of All Boys Aren’t Blue were on the receiving end of slurs and insults from counter-protesters who said they were out to protect innocent children, Flagler Live reports. More from the Daytona Beach News-Journal. • The Indian River County School Board created a new commission to deal with parent complaints about sexually explicit materials on school shelves, WPEC reports.

The Duval County school district is working on a local Parents’ Bill of Rights. The goal is to provide easier access to information for parents, and to create more ways to get parents involved in schools, WJXT reports.

Republican lawmakers advanced legislation to give parents more authority during a pandemic. They would give parents sole authority to decide whether their children wear masks or get vaccinated. More from Florida Phoenix.

The Palm Beach County school district was among the last in Florida to end its strict mask mandate. More than 10 percent of parents quickly opted their children out of wearing the face coverings, the Palm Beach Post reports.

It’s not just Florida. A U.S. senator has proposed a federal Parents’ Bill of Rights, Education Week reports.

Other school news

Palm Beach County school bus drivers are getting frustrated. They protested for higher pay and more input on routing, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Not every school employee received a state bonus check aimed at classroom teachers and principals. The Escambia County School Board decided to pay bonuses to all its workers who didn’t get one, WEAR reports.

The Manatee County School Board made a bit of local history. It selected its first Black male chairperson ever, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Getting there is half the battle. The Okaloosa County Commission approved new sidewalks leading to schools in two communities, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

The Monroe County School Board likes its new superintendent. It offered her a two-year contract extension, the Key West Citizen reports.

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