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Florida education news: Teacher evaluations, security recommendations and student therapies

A roundup of stories from around the state.

RATING TEACHERS: Florida’s long-criticized ‘value-added model,’ or VAM, comes under scrutiny in the state House as an education subcommittee discusses its role in evaluating teachers. The issue popped back on the radar screen this fall as low-rated teachers were removed from their classrooms, but legislative leaders haven’t said whether changes are in the works.

GUNS IN SCHOOLS: A Pasco County school resource officer is fired after authorities determine his inappropriate handling of his weapon caused it to fire in a crowded middle school cafeteria. The incident took place in the spring, as lawmakers were debating whether to allow teachers to carry guns as guardians.

R.I.P.: Longtime Pinellas County educator and one-time School Board member Lee Benjamin passes away at 92. • Broward County students will have a half day off every Feb. 14 to remember the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

NAME GAME: Hillsborough County’s newest school will be named after community pioneer Jule Sumner.

SUPERINTENDENTS: The interim superintendent of Madison County in the Panhandle is appointed to the post until the next election in 2020.

THERAPY: The Brevard County School Board seeks to readmit registered behavior technicians to its schools after learning they have been barred because of a legal technicality, Florida Today reports. The board had received complaints that the change had negatively affected children.

CONTRACT TALKS: Alachua County teachers reach a tentative agreement that would provide 2 percent raises, WCJB reports.

SCHOOL GUARDS: The state school Public Safety Commission recommends that private entities no longer be allowed to train school security guards, WPTV reports. More on the commission’s latest recommendations from the Sun-Sentinel.

MENTAL HEALTH: St. Lucie County schools plan to add more guidance counselors, CBS 12 reports.

SHARED LESSONS: Five Florida school districts join forces to seek the best teaching practices and share them with others, WLRN reports.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Florida school districts begin preparing policies to describe how students may use medical marijuana in school, after the Department of Education threatens penalties for districts without such rules, WTLV reports.

ENROLLMENT: The Manatee County school district surpasses 50,000 students for the first time, SRQ Magazine reports.

MAKEUP DAYS: Brevard County students will have to make up one day of classes because of time missed during Hurricane Dorian, Florida Today reports.

PAYCHECK PROBLEMS: The Manatee County school district overpaid employees by about $321,000, and those who got the money will have to give it back, the Bradenton Herald reports.

PROPERTY SWAP: The City of Green Cove Springs rejects a request to give the Clay County school district an old fire station for security needs, Clay Today reports.

INVESTIGATION RESULTS: An outside investigator finds a top Sarasota County school district official sexually harassed an employee and the superintendent did almost nothing about it after receiving a complaint, the Herald-Tribune reports.

IN COURT: A former St. Lucie County student sues the school district, contending the district mishandled her sexual harassment allegation against a teacher, TC Palm reports. The teacher was later arrested on child pornography and charges.

TODAY: House PreK-12 Appropriations, 9:30 a.m. On the agenda: Teacher compensation • Florida standards review listening session, 5:30 p.m., Jefferson High School, Tampa

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup