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Florida education news: School police, active shooter drills, and school naming rules

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
Published Oct. 16

SCHOOL POLICE: The Hernando County school district administration withdraws its proposal to create its own police force as a way to boost the number of officers protecting the schools. The county sheriff had opposed the idea. A handful of Florida school districts are turning to this concept of in-house police to meet the state’s school security requirements, The 74 reports. • The Duval County school district police department receives six grants to help increase campus security, WJXT reports.

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: The Hillsborough County School Board replaces the principal of Martinez Middle School, who was abruptly removed in September in relation to an in appropriate photo. • One of Pasco County’s longest serving principals retires.

COUNTING HEADS: Hillsborough County school district officials are preparing to help ensure as many students as possible are counted in the upcoming U.S. census. It matters because the results impact federal school funding.

CONTRACT TALKS: Pasco County’s school-related personnel will return to collective bargaining a month after the district presented a controversial pay raise plan. • The Indian River County School Board ends the impasse over 2018-19 contract negotiations by adopting the superintendent’s recommendations, TC Palm reports.

ACTIVE SHOOTER DRILLS: The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission recommends reducing the number of required school active shooter drills, amid concerns that the higher number is traumatizing students, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from Associated Press. • The Pensacola News-Journal describes a recent active shooter drill at a Santa Rosa County school.

SCHOOL THREATS: The Public Safety Commission raises concerns over the way a judge handled a Baker County school threat, but members aren’t sure what they could recommend to lawmakers to prevent a repeat, the News Service of Florida reports. • Two national organizations criticize the state’s data collection system implemented to seek out school threats on the internet, WLRN reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: Many Volusia County middle school parents say they ‘hate’ the district’s schedule change, which has their children beginning classes at 9:30 a.m., the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

STUDENT THERAPY: The father of a Brevard County student with disabilities tells the School Board he will find a way to resume private therapy in school for his child, Florida Today reports. The district recently barred the type of therapy needed, based on a stricter interpretation of what the law allows.

CAREER EDUCATION: A state Senate committee advances legislation that would funnel some Job Growth Grant Fund money to ‘certain’ charter schools, Florida Politics reports.

MATH SCORES: Alachua County school district officials seek answers for a decline in students’ performance on state algebra and geometry exams, WUFT reports.

AUDIT REPORT: A recent audit raises red flags about a Palm Beach County charter school’s financial operations, the Palm Beach Post reports.

EARLY EDUCATION: A proposal to convert an historic Polk County home into a preschool draws criticism and support, the Ledger reports.

NAME GAME: A Lee County school naming advisory committee flags several recommendations as not meeting all district criteria, despite their popularity, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH: The Volusia County School Board narrows its candidate list for its next superintendent, the Palm Beach Post reports.

IN COURT: A former Palm Beach County school district technology specialist could soon settle her case accusing the district of wrongful termination, the Palm Beach Post reports.

HEADED TO COURT? The Sarasota County School Board anticipates a lawsuit stemming from a pending investigation report into an employee’s accusations that her sexual harassment complaints went ignored, the Herald-Tribune reports.

TODAY: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, 8:30 a.m., Champion’s Gate • Senate Education Appropriations, 1:30 p.m. • House PreK-12 Innovation, 3 p.m. • Florida standards review listening session, 5:30 p.m., Collier County school district office

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup


  1. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  2. Henry "Shake" Washington is running for Hillsborough County School Board for the second time since 2018.
  3. Representatives from the United School Employees of Pasco, on the left, present their latest pay request to the district's bargaining team during talks on Oct. 24, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    Officials from both sides say a deal could emerge as early as next week.
  4. A roundup of stories from around the state.
  5. Olivia Pruna, a student at Nina Harris Exceptional Student Education Center, practices with the school's drum line last year. The Pinellas County school district is asking parents and others for suggestions on ways to improve exceptional student education in the county. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    News and notes about K-12 schools and colleges in Pinellas County.
  6. Student activists with the March For Our Lives group, founded after the Feb. 2018 Parkland shooting, hold a banner that promotes their new "peace plan" to prevent gun violence, while demonstrating in the rotunda of the state capitol building in Tallahassee. Emily L. Mahoney | Times
    The 18-year-old student director of March for Our Lives Florida said school shootings are so common they are “not shocking” anymore.
  7. Steven Currall prepares to deliver an address during his investiture as the University of South Florida's seventh president Thursday at the Yuengling Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    Though he started the job in July, Steve Currall is officially installed as president on his 137th day in office.
  8. Gov. Ron DeSantis greets local officials at Dunedin High School on Oct. 7, 2019, part of a swing around the state to announce his plan to boost starting teacher pay in Florida to $47,500. He revealed a related teacher bonus plan on Nov. 14 in Vero Beach. MEGAN REEVES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new plan would replace the controversial Best and Brightest model that DeSantis had called confusing.
  9. Cotee River Elementary student Darrell Jones waves his American flag during the school's Veterans Day program.
    The School Board is scheduled to vote on the calendar next week.
  10. Pasco eSchool principal JoAnne Glenn is surprised by school district officials who announced she is their 2020 Principal of the Year. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff
    A discussion with Pasco County Principal of the Year JoAnne Glenn.