Groups say Florida schools need youth risk data on day of Texas school shooting

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Florida dropped out of a federal survey that helped schools and others determine youth participation in vaping and other risky behaviors. Dozens of organizations have called on the state to rejoin the survey. [Associated Press]
Florida dropped out of a federal survey that helped schools and others determine youth participation in vaping and other risky behaviors. Dozens of organizations have called on the state to rejoin the survey. [Associated Press] [ [Associated Press (2018)] ]
Published May 25, 2022

The big story: Citing the need to be more efficient with student time and state money, the Florida Department of Education recently walked away from participating in the CDC’s biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Officials said the state could gather the data itself.

Several people and groups who used the information to inform their projects and policies initially grumbled. Now they’ve formally asked the state to reconsider the decision.

They contended it’s unnecessary to reinvent the survey, adding that the changes could hinder efforts to further improve children’s health and welfare. Read the story here.

Florida isn’t the only state examining its use of the federal data. New Hampshire lawmakers on Monday stopped a bill that would have required parental permission to participate in the anonymous survey, the Concord Monitor reports. Health and law enforcement leaders opposed the proposal. Supporters cited Florida’s action as part of their rationale.

The issue of understanding youth risks came into stark focus as the nation learned an 18-year-old gunman killed at least 19 children at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the Associated Press reports. It was the 27th school shooting in the U.S. this year. More from the Washington Post.

The chairperson of Orange County’s School Board said the latest school massacre highlights why Florida needs more, not less, social-emotional learning, WFTV reports.

The shooting revived memories of the 2018 massacre in Parkland, WPLG reports. • Florida officials issued statements condemning the violence, WESH reports. More from the Miami Herald. • Some school districts said they would heighten security because of the shooting, the Herald-Tribune reports. More from WPTV.

Hot topics

Book challenges: The St. Johns County School Board has been asked to remove 56 books because of their content. The board decided to keep the first seven it reviewed, WTLV reports. The meeting got heated and several residents were removed, the St. Augustine Record reports. • Tampa Bay area school districts are taking different approaches to the new state law relating to instructional materials selections, WTSP reports.

Dress code: A Florida-based virtual academy dropped its rule that banned a student from participating in its in-person graduation ceremony because of his hairstyle, Blavity reports. The school apologized on social media for its “insensitive” rule prohibiting locs.

Gender issues: A group of Orange County students interrupted a School Board meeting with song as the board discussed implementation of the state’s new law on parent rights and the instruction of gender identity, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

School schedules: Several Sarasota County schools will have new class times in the fall, as the School Board shifted schedules to cope with an ongoing bus driver shortage, the Herald-Tribune reports.

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Other school news

Lake County’s Leesburg High School graduation ceremony was washed out by rain. So the school held a second attempt, WKMG reports.

Polk County students were told not to bring backpacks to school for the remainder of the year. Officials called the move a precautionary security measure, WFLA reports.

A Brevard County official continues his effort to include school board recall in the county charter. He brought back the idea, which the charter review commission had rejected, based on a misspelling in the original proposal, Florida Today reports.

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Before you go ... OK, soccer fans. The Champions League final is coming up. To get in the mood, how about a little animated show about the world’s best players living in an alternate universe where soccer isn’t a thing?

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