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Florida education news: Prayer, paddling and a lawsuit on transgender student rights

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Gulf Middle seventh graders Kendall Geraci and Gaby Perez look for matching t-shirts in the school's Treasure Chest, where everything is free for students who need it. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times Staff]

SCHOOL PRAYER: State Rep. Kimberly Daniels submits legislation that would require all Florida public schools to hold a daily moment of silence for ‘reflection,’ the News Service of Florida reports.

HELPING HANDS: Pasco County’s Gulf Middle School offers its students free clothing, school supplies and other items to help them feel prepared for school.

TRANSGENDER ISSUES: A panel of federal judges prepares to hear a St. Johns County case that will offer guidance on how schools in Florida, Georgia and Alabama deal with transgender student access to restrooms and locker rooms, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. The Dec. 5 hearing comes as Florida’s culture wars on the issue intensify. Some Pasco County parents say their district’s LGBTQ protections are coming under attack, WFLA reports. A north Florida conservative group holds rallies and events, saying there should be no such thing as an LGBTQ-friendly school, WUSF reports. A group of Flagler County parents ask their district to improve transgender student rights in schools, WKMG reports.

FREE LUNCH: About 200,000 Florida school children could lose access to federally subsidized school lunches under a proposal to change the program from President Trump’s administration, the Miami Herald reports.

TEACHER PAY: Osceola County teachers take to the streets to call for improved state funding for public education, including higher teacher pay, Spectrum 13 reports. • Many teacher organization leaders and individual teachers are critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to boost the state’s minimum pay for educators, the News Service of Florida reports. • Orange County teachers prepare to vote on a second contract proposal after having rejected the first offer, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

EVALUATIONS: The Miami-Dade County school district looks into a different way to determine whether teachers affect their students’ academic outcomes, the Miami Herald reports.

MATH LESSONS: Orange County high schools fall short of their goal to get more minority students to take high level math courses such as calculus, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

LANDSCAPING: The Brevard County school district rents a tribe of goats to attack an overgrown piece of land that machines can’t handle, the Associated Press reports.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT: New legislation would allow Florida schools to paddle students, but only if they can get parental permission, WBBH reports. Currently that permission is not required.

REZONING: The Brevard County school district tests a new model of setting attendance zones for a new school, to give families more choice in where they attend, Florida Today reports.

TURNAROUNDS: A Putnam County elementary school with low state test scores turns to academic teaming to help boost student performance, eSchool News reports. • A struggling St. Lucie County elementary school comes under district management after failing to improve its state grade, TC Palm reports.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Brevard County school district administrators and board members spend a day substitute teaching, Space Coast Daily reports.

TOP JOB: Former Seminole County superintendent Bill Vogel says he won’t be an empty suit if selected as Sarasota County’s interim leader, the Herald-Tribune reports. • Indian River County’s new superintendent begins his job on Monday, TC Palm reports.

CHARTER SCHOOLS: The Florida Board of Education overrides the Volusia County School Board’s rejection of a charter school application, paving the way for the school to open, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

HOMECOMING: The daughter of migrant farm workers in rural Collier County now leads a school in the community where she grew up, showing a new generation of children they can find success, the Naples Daily News reports.

LEGAL COUNSEL: Marion County’s school district lawyer takes a similar job in Brevard County, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

FIGHTING BACK: A Pasco County school resource officer who was fired after his gun fired in a crowded school cafeteria plans to challenge his dismissal, Fresh Take Florida reports.

VAPING: The Palm Beach County school district joins a growing lawsuit against e-cigarette makers, the Palm Beach Post reports.

OPIOIDS: The Miami-Dade County school district seeks other urban school districts to join its legal battle against opioid manufacturers and distributors, WLRN reports.