Permission slips for Black History Month events raise red flags

A roundup of Florida education news from around the state
Marvin Dunn speaks to U.S. history students and seventh grade civics students at the Palmetto Middle School, in Pinecrest, on Thursday February 01, 2024.
Marvin Dunn speaks to U.S. history students and seventh grade civics students at the Palmetto Middle School, in Pinecrest, on Thursday February 01, 2024. [ PEDRO PORTAL | El Nuevo Herald ]
Published Feb. 9

The big story: National attention again has turned to Florida schools’ increasing request for permission slips.

The issue went viral in the fall, as parents were required to sign off on such previously mundane things as allowing their children to be called by nicknames. Schools were reacting to state law and rules that give increasingly more authority to parents in directing the education and treatment of their children.

Citing the need to be cautious, school districts added all sorts of paperwork for parents.

It’s resurfaced as a Miami-Dade County school asked that students have permission to listen to guest speakers and participate in non-class activities related to Black History Month. Some parents, and some board members, have questioned whether the district has gone too far in implementing the law. Read more here.

K-12 topics

Superintendents: Saying he has exceeded expectations, the Pinellas County School Board plans to extend superintendent Kevin Hendrick’s contract by three years. • Lee County superintendent Christopher Bernier is a finalist for the top job in Omaha, Neb., schools, KMTV reports. Lee is transitioning to an elected superintendent, and Bernier chose not to run for the post.

Student athletes: The Broward County school district has expanded its investigation into whether a transgender student was allowed to play on middle school girls sports teams, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Florida law bans such participation.

School closings: As Broward County officials consider shuttering underused schools, superintendent Peter Licata warns not everyone will be happy, WTVJ reports.

Proclamations: Flagler County School Board member Sally Hunt wants to cut back on proclamations and recognitions at board meetings, saying they take too long, Flagler Live reports.

Home schooling: Hillsborough County has more homeschooled students than any other school district in the nation, WTVT reports.

Classroom code: A Sarasota County private school was found in violation of county code for the modular classrooms on its new campus, the Herald-Tribune reports. Neighbors are trying to prevent the construction of a permanent structure at the site.

Calendars: Some Marion County parents are worried that a plan to convert their children’s school to a year-round calendar could negatively impact their family schedules, WCJB reports. Others like the idea.

Budgets: The House and Senate approved their separate budget proposals, and now head to negotiations over the differences, Florida Politics reports.

Background checks: An Osceola County School Board member questioned the depth of applicant background checks amid a spate of recent school employee arrests, WESH reports.

Awards: Junior high science teacher Robin Wilkinson is Clay County 2024 Teacher of the Year, Clay Today reports.

From the police blotter ... A Miami-Dade County charter school teacher was arrested on accusations of inappropriate text messaging with a student, WTVJ reports. • A Duval County elementary school student was arrested on allegations of bringing a loaded gun to school, WJXT reports. • A Hernando County teen was arrested on accusations of bringing a gun onto a school bus, WFLA reports. • A Duval County high school student was arrested on allegations of hitting an assistant principal with his car, WJAX reports. • A former bookkeeper for a Santa Rosa County middle school is under investigation over missing money, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

In higher ed

University leadership: The chairperson of Florida Atlantic University’s Board of Trustees resigned amid criticism of his leadership as the school seeks a new president, WLRN reports. More from the Palm Beach Post.

Teacher training: A bill to restrict teacher preparation lessons regarding “identity politics” advanced in the Senate, Florida Phoenix reports. • Another bill would require teachers to be trained in handling incidents of mass casualty before they can enter a classroom, WPTV reports.

Land for sale: St. Petersburg College is selling about 32 acres of unused property, St. Pete Catalyst reports.

From the court docket ... Florida State University has asked a North Carolina court to dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit against the school, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The sides are feuding over FSU’s future affiliation for athletics.

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

Before you go ... Who cares what movie this comes from? Boy George, Nile Rodgers, Ariana DeBose — enough said.