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Florida schools tackle bus woes as parent, student frustrations mount

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state.
 
Thurgood Marshall Fundamental School students wait for the school bus along 62nd Avenue South for the first day of school for Pinellas County students in 2021. This year, Pinellas County school officials are looking for ways to improve the student transportation system, which has been plagued by late buses caused by a persistent driver shortage.
Thurgood Marshall Fundamental School students wait for the school bus along 62nd Avenue South for the first day of school for Pinellas County students in 2021. This year, Pinellas County school officials are looking for ways to improve the student transportation system, which has been plagued by late buses caused by a persistent driver shortage. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Nov. 4, 2022|Updated Nov. 4, 2022

The big story: Bus driver vacancies are nothing new. We’ve heard stories of students arriving late for classes and late back home for months, if not years.

That doesn’t excuse the lack of solutions for parents whose children are enduring the situation almost every day.

The Pinellas County school district has faced its share of critics over the system and the communication of problems. Officials say they’re trying to do something about it. But is it enough for fed up parents?

Read more here.

Hot topics

UF president search: The UF student senate member who sits on the Board of Trustees faces impeachment by her peers after voting to affirm Ben Sasse as the school’s next president.

Race lessons: The Board of Governors will consider a rule tying professors’ tenure review to the requirements of Florida’s new law restricting lessons on race-related matters, the News Service of Florida reports.

Mental health services: The Polk County school district is seeking a $3 million grant to help it put more counselors in schools, Lakeland Now reports.

Hurricane recovery: Several southwest Florida schools are still struggling to come back after the devastation of Hurricane Ian, Florida Phoenix reports. • Lee County’s Pine Island Elementary reopened more quickly than many expected, WINK reports.

Book challenges: The Broward County school district is removing or restricting access to 11 books, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Board politics: A race for Flagler County School Board has become inundated with deceptive attack ads, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

Other school news

A Hillsborough County elementary school regularly welcomes a 5-year-old therapy dog twice weekly. The yellow lab’s visits are an incentive for student attendance and performance, WFTS reports.

A Levy County school was locked down as several students experienced flu-like symptoms. The move came after officials found two students in a bathroom with methamphetamine, WUFT reports.

An Escambia County elementary school faces tough choices in the state accountability system. It has received two consecutive F grades from the state, the Pensacola News-Journal reports. Officials have said they do not want O.J. Semmes Elementary to suffer the same long-term struggles as the district’s Warrington Middle.

Jefferson County K-12 is preparing to become a community partnership school. It is establishing relationships with several organizations including the Children’s Home Society of Florida and Florida A&M University, the Monticello News reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County woman was arrested on allegations of selling drugs to a student who passed them out at school, where several children were rushed to the hospital with symptoms of overdosing, the Miami Herald reports.

From the court docket ... A Palm Beach County family is suing the school district, contending it was negligent in allowing students to participate in a TikTok challenge called “Skull Breaker,” WPBF reports. • A Volusia County Catholic high school is being sued by a former soccer player at an opposing school, who alleged he was intentionally injured by a player at the Catholic school during a 2019 game, WESH reports.

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

Before you go ... It’s always cool when schools share the new innovative programs they offer to students. Check out this one Pinellas Technical College is providing to students, which is getting attention from industry.

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