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New lines drawn over Florida law on parental rights, gender instruction

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Demonstrators protest inside the Florida State Capitol on March 7 as House Republicans advanced a bill, limiting instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. President Biden has issued an executive order aimed at curbing legislation like Florida's.
Demonstrators protest inside the Florida State Capitol on March 7 as House Republicans advanced a bill, limiting instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. President Biden has issued an executive order aimed at curbing legislation like Florida's. [ WILFREDO LEE | AP ]
Published Jun. 16

The big story: For several months, Florida has stood at the center of the national debate raging over LGBTQ student rights and school lessons about gender identity and sexual orientation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure limiting how the issues may be taught in schools, and has gotten flak from LGBTQ activists and their allies, including Democrat politicians who have deplored what they have viewed as attempts to sideline and demonize an entire group of citizens.

DeSantis has taken shots at President Biden over the topic. On Wednesday, Biden returned fire.

The president’s latest move is an executive order countering laws like Florida’s. Read more from the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the Palm Beach County School Board adopted a policy implementing provisions of the new law, WPTV reports. And the Florida Department of Education scheduled a June 29 rule making workshop to begin providing districts with more guidance about how to follow the requirements, the News Service of Florida reports.

DeSantis stressed what he saw as the importance of the law during a press conference, WFOR reports.

The discussion took a different turn in North Carolina. Lawmakers there indicated a similar measure might not make it to the finish line in the Republican-dominated Legislature, the Associated Press reports.

Hot topics

The Chamberlain High School Home of “The Chiefs” sign at Chamberlain High School, 9401 N Blvd, on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Tampa.
The Chamberlain High School Home of “The Chiefs” sign at Chamberlain High School, 9401 N Blvd, on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

School mascots: Hillsborough County has two high schools with Native American mascots and logos. Students at one of them want a change.

School board elections: Gov. Ron DeSantis’ reelection campaign launched a guide to help school board candidates who support his education agenda, The Federalist reports.

Security: Brevard County school district officials sought to reassure families that law enforcement will confront any school shooter and not stay outside, Florida Today reports.

Superintendents: Sarasota County superintendent Brennan Asplen got a raise, but also no support for a proposal that would have allowed the School Board to fire him without cause only with a supermajority vote, the Herald-Tribune reports. • The Duval County School Board gave superintendent Diana Greene a 10% raise and a four-year contract extension, WJAX reports.

Gender issues: About 200 residents filled the the Polk County School Board meeting to honor Pride Month, creating a different atmosphere than a year ago when opponents jeered the recognition, Lakeland Now reports.

Employee pay: The Manatee County school district is the latest to reach a contract agreement implementing the state’s new $15 an hour minimum wage, WWSB reports.

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Other school news

A rendering of the Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences building planned for the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus. The university and its supporters anticipated receiving $75 million from the state for funds to begin construction on the building, but the funds were vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 2, 2022 as he signed the state budget.
A rendering of the Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences building planned for the University of South Florida's St. Petersburg campus. The university and its supporters anticipated receiving $75 million from the state for funds to begin construction on the building, but the funds were vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 2, 2022 as he signed the state budget. [ University of South Florida ]

A major science center for the University of South Florida got vetoed this year. Gov. DeSantis signaled he would approve the funding next year. • Meanwhile, the university continued to advance plans for a new campus football stadium.

The governor also vetoed a new construction academy for Citrus County schools. The district announced it is moving ahead with the project anyway, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

A Lee County teacher has started a petition calling for changes in state certification rules. The School Board indicated it would support the teacher’s efforts through its legislative priorities, WFTX reports.

From the court docket ... An appellate court ruled against attempts to block the release of information from a grand jury investigation of Florida school safety issues, the News Service of Florida reports.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... You know you need a fix of 1970′s Nigerian funk.

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