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Court upholds Florida school board rule against Moms for Liberty challenge

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Julie Gebhards, of Lithia, speaks during the public comment portion of a Hillsborough County School Board in February 2022. Some school boards have rules limiting the scope of comments during their meetings, and a federal appellate court has upheld those rules as within their purview after a challenge by Moms for Liberty.
Julie Gebhards, of Lithia, speaks during the public comment portion of a Hillsborough County School Board in February 2022. Some school boards have rules limiting the scope of comments during their meetings, and a federal appellate court has upheld those rules as within their purview after a challenge by Moms for Liberty. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Nov. 29, 2022|Updated Nov. 29, 2022

The big story: For years, many school boards across Florida have had rules limiting speakers from making comments about specific individuals.

The goal, they say, is to maintain civility and retain focus on the policies and other actions within the board’s purview, without getting into personalities.

The Moms for Liberty chapter in Brevard County challenged that posture, taking its School Board to court over the issue. They lost in the trial court, and their appeal also fell short.

“We find no abuse of discretion in the district court’s thorough, well-reasoned order,” the Atlanta-based appeals court wrote. “We therefore affirm the district court’s order denying appellants’ motion for preliminary injunction.”

Read more from the News Service of Florida.

Hot topics

Superintendents: Sarasota County superintendent Brennan Asplen announced he had negotiated a separation agreement to end his 2-year tenure with the school district, WUSF reports. He made the deal as the board prepared to discuss whether to fire him during a special meeting Tuesday afternoon. Chairperson Bridget Ziegler told WUSF she wants to avoid turmoil in the district whichever direction the board goes. More from the Herald-Tribune.

Student discipline: The Brevard County School Board chairperson joined with the sheriff to announce a new strict student discipline policy for the district, WKMG reports. The details have yet to be determined.

Gender issues: Florida’s new House speaker drew criticism after making comments that schools care more about “drag queen story hour” than teaching children to read, the USA Today Florida Network reports. No Florida schools have been known to have a drag queen story hour. • The Orange County School Board heard public input as it continues its effort to reform its policies in light of new Florida law relating to instruction about gender and race, WESH reports.

Bullying: A Black student attending a Sarasota County charter school has accused classmates of using racial slurs against him, and his mother has filed complaints with the school, which said the incidents were properly handled, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Employee relations: Edward Waters University in Jacksonville canceled its faculty contract and stopped recognizing the faculty union, citing its “core values and Christian tenets” as the rationale, The Tributary reports.

From the police blotter ... A former Putnam County school resource officer was arrested on accusations of sexual battery against a minor student, WTLV reports.

From the court docket ... A former Seminole County student who was shot at school has sued the school district, claiming it did not take adequate precautions to protect him, WKMG reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... For all you “Hamilton” fans, enjoy the “Hamilton Polka.”

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