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Florida education news: School security, book bans, student shots and more

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Pinellas Sheriff's trainers line the back of the room Monday as more than 100 school security officers, or "guardians," began training -- part of the state's response to the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting. "You're going to be some people's last hope of a savior in the worst time," Sheriff's Lt. Greg Danzig told the recruits. "It's an unnecessary evil, but the people in this room are the ones that are going to do something about it." [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
Published Aug. 22

SPENDING: The Florida Board of Education calls on lawmakers to increase funding for school mental health services and armed security in its next education budget, the News Service of Florida reports. Outside the board’s meeting, Broward County teachers rallied for higher salaries and better funding of academic programs, WLRN reports.

TOO HOT: Pasco County’s Cotee River Elementary School enters its third day without air conditioning.

SECURITY: A private company paid to train Palm Beach County school guards did not meet statutory requirements, the News Service of Florida reports. The county sheriff says his agency will have to provide the training all over again, the Palm Beach Post reports.

GETTING THERE: The Citrus County school districts asks parents for patience as it works through overcrowded buses and slow routes, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Martin County parents worry about their children’s safety as the school district no longer grandfathers in courtesy bus rides for those living closer than 2 miles from school, TC Palm reports.

BOOK CHALLENGE: The Marion County School Board rejects a tea party request to ban three titles from high schools, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

HIRING AND FIRING: The Escambia County School Board deletes a requirement for a super majority to fire its appointed superintendent, a position it has yet to fill, the Pensacola News-Journal reports.

BOW YOUR HEADS: A pastor’s unexpected prayer to open the Flagler County School Board meeting draws a debate over whether the district plans to resume the religious practice it ended more than four decades ago, Flagler Live reports.

DREAM JOB: A Charlotte County educator follows her grandfather into the school district’s principal ranks, the Charlotte Sun reports.

TEACHER SHORTAGE: A Sarasota County school for children with disabilities struggles to fill dozens of teacher and paraprofessional jobs, the Herald-Tribune reports.

UN-BANNED: A Miami-Dade County teen wins a court order allowing him back onto the high school playing fields after having been banned, CBS Miami reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: KIPP expands in Miami with a new charter middle school, the Miami Times reports.

MENTAL HEALTH: St. Johns County students seek more mental health services than in the past after the district revamps its offerings, the St. Augustine Record reports. • The number of Florida students treated under the Baker Act soars to record numbers, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

TAXES: The Duval County School Board looks for a compromise on sharing future sales tax funds with charter schools in an effort to break a deadlock over its request for a referendum, WJXT reports.

PORTABLES: Palm Beach County parents want to know why their children remain in portable classrooms as the district builds new schools and renovates others, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

SCHOOL SHOTS: The Flagler County School Board hesitates to allow the Department of Heath to provide HPV vaccinations in schools, the Palm Coast Observer reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. Sandra Gero, a regional search associate at Ray and Associates, hosts a meeting at the Middleton High School auditorium and gathers public comments on what people are looking for for the next Hillsborough County School Superintendent on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in Tampa. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Using public meetings and a survey, they’re painting a picture of the ideal school leader.
  2. Jeff Eakins and MaryEllen Elia, Hillsborough's last two superintendents, were hired from inside the school system. So have all others since 1967. Times staff
    Go to the school district website before 8 a.m. Monday to state your case.
  3. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  4. The Pasco County school district would rezone the Seven Oaks subdivision from the Wiregrass Ranch High feeder pattern to the Cypress Creek High feeder pattern, beginning in the 2020-21 school year. Pasco County school district
    The Seven Oaks subdivision is the primary target for rezoning.
  5. Fortify Florida is a new app that allows for anonymous reporting of suspected school threats. Florida Department of Education
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  6. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  7. Rep. Susan Valdes, D-Tampa, during a Feb. 7, 2019, meeting of the House PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    ‘One test should not determine the rest of your life,’ Rep. Susan Valdes says.
  8. The Florida House Education Committee focuses on early education in its first meeting of the 2020 session. The Florida Channel
    School security and early learning get top billing in the first committee meetings of the looming 2020 session.
  9. This image from a Pinellas County Schools video shows an armed police officer running to respond to a fictional active shooter.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  10. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The proposal is short on details, with officials saying they want to work through specifics during negotiations.