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Florida education news: School guards, crossing guards, football refs and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes.   LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Former Pasco County Corrections Officer Wendy Miller, 57 runs towards gunfire with instructor Chris Squitieri during active shooter drills taught by Pasco County Sheriff's Office at Charles S. Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes. LUIS SANTANA | Times
Published Aug. 7, 2019

TEACHERS WITH GUNS: The Pasco County School Board adopts a policy saying only those people employed specifically to guard schools will be authorized to carry weapons on campuses. That means educators and others won’t be the ones with guns. One board member calls for added discussion, though, suggesting the district might want more armed people able to respond quickly if a shooter ever does appear at a school.

REZONING: More than 1,000 Pasco County students could find themselves reassigned to different schools for 2020 as part of an attendance zone revision in the works to accommodate a new school.

GETTING THERE: Hillsborough County looks to hire more school crossing guards amid school district reductions in courtesy bus rides. • Some Leon County parents are concerned the school district’s reorganized school bus routes will confuse children, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

REFEREE? High school football officials around Florida threaten to strike over a pay dispute, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. That could mean no Friday night lights in Lee County, the Naples Daily News reports. Palm Beach County, too, though Broward County refs have agreed to work preseason, the Sun-Sentinel reports. Pensacola-area schools do not expect to be affected, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

POWER STRUGGLE: Three lawyers hired by the Duval County School Board argue the City Council can’t stop the school district from holding a sales tax referendum, the Florida Times-Union reports.

MORE MONEY: The Brevard County school district says it has found an additional $1.5 million to put toward teacher pay, Florida Today reports.

SECURITY: Two St. Johns County high schools will allow only clear bags into football games, the Florida Times-Union reports.

TEACH FOR AMERICA: The Duval County school district renews its contract with the organization that brings teachers into high-needs schools, the Florida Times-Union reports.

RIBBON CUTTING: Manatee County officials celebrate the opening of a long-planned new high school, the Bradenton Herald reports.

PRINCIPAL REMOVED: The Volusia County high school principal accused of providing fake AP exams to hundreds of students is placed on administrative leave, Fox 35 reports. More from the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

REPORTING BULLYING: The Palm Beach County school district implements a district-wide hotline to handle complaints of bullying, the Palm Beach Post reports. Individual schools previously received the calls.

BUS SAFETY: Volunteers install new benches at school bus stops throughout Cape Coral to help children wait safely for their rides, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

HEALTH CARE: An Orlando hotel group will begin offering its health care program to Osceola County school district employees, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

NEW RULES: The Sarasota County School Board adopts several new policies, including ones governing guest speakers and student cell phone use, the Herald-Tribune reports.

STUDENTS PUNISHED AFTER COMPLAINTS: Schools in Miami-Dade County and elsewhere in the nation often mishandle sexual assault allegations, which can lead to victims being punished, The 74 reports.

BAD ACTS: A Santa Rosa County special education teacher resigns after being found guilty of physically abusing a student, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Florida lawmakers have introduced legislation aimed at improving the outcomes of the state's prekindergarten program. Some critics suggest the proposed solutions, such as added testing, go too far.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  2. Victoria Arriaga, left, does a letter-matching activity during Priscilla Perez's pre-kindergarten class at West Tampa Elementary School. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    The 148-page bill would lead to a new ‘grading’ system for prekindergarten providers, so parents can better choose programs for their toddlers.
  3. Pasco County's Fivay High School has added new security measures to keep the peace on campus. [JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
    Parents want to see more control of the campus.
  4. Hillsborough County Chief of Schools Harrison Peters, speaking with students here at Potter Elementary School, is a the choice to become superintendent of Providence, R.I., schools. [Times file (2016)]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Harrison Peters, Chief of Schools in Hillsborough County, has landed a job as superintendent in Providence, R.I. [HCPS  |  Handout]
    Peters will become a turnaround superintendent at a troubled district.
  6. Gov. Ron DeSantis. [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    Florida students will read more classical literature and learn math differently, according to summary documents.
  7. Janessa Horsford, 5, says goodbye to her parents, Julytsa and Nigel Horsford, on her first day of kindergarten at Lake Magdalene Elementary School.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  8. Miranda Harwood, a fourth-grade math teacher at Brooker Elementary School, is the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year. [Hillsborough County Public Schools]
    The self-described “data queen” uses humor to keep her students engaged.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
    Five girls and one boy will face charges after lunchtime fights disrupted the Pasco County campus, according to the school district.
  10. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.