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Florida education news: Transgender rights, student awards, and an Election Day error

A roundup of stories from around the state.
FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) [WILL DICKEY  |  AP]
FILE - In a Monday, Dec. 11, 2017 file photo, transgender teen Drew Adams, left, leaves the U. S. Courthouse with his mother Erica Adams Kasper after the first day of his trial about bathroom rights at Nease High School, in Jacksonville, Fla. The transgender student's fight over school bathrooms comes before a federal appeals court Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, setting the stage for a groundbreaking ruling. Drew Adams, who has since graduated from Nease High School in Ponte Vedra, won a lower court ruling in 2018 ordering the St. Johns County school district to allow him to use the boys' restroom. (Will Dickey/The Florida Times-Union via AP, File) [WILL DICKEY | AP]
Published Dec. 5, 2019

TRANSGENDER STUDENT RIGHTS: The debate over transgender student rights in Pasco County schools takes a turn toward civility, just two weeks after a public confrontation that many deemed hateful and vile. Conservative activists have been pressing the district for changes in its rules for more than a year. Officials said they plan no new direction unless the courts change the legal landscape. A key Florida case gets its hearing in federal appellate court on Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

STUDENT AWARDS: Miami-Dade County School Board member Steve Gallon III comes under fire from former Florida Board of Education chairman T. Willard Fair over his monthly awards to area students, Miami Times reports. Fair says Gallon should not recognize children with low reading levels, while Gallon retorts that achievement is about more than reading.

TOP EDUCATORS: Citrus County schools superintendent Sam Himmel is named Florida’s 2020 Superintendent of the Year, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. • Five Duval County school teachers are surprised with the news they are district finalists for their Teacher of the Year honor, the Florida Times-Union reports.

ON THE RADIO: The Miami-Dade County School Board delays action on a proposal to hire a new manager for WLRN, its public radio station, WLRN reports.

SCHOOL DAYS: The Palm Beach County school district forgot to account for the presidential primary when setting its 2020 calendar, forcing it to consider shortening spring break by a day, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

CAREER EDUCATION: Prologis, a San Francisco-based real estate logistics and supply chain company, brings a training program to a Miami-Dade County high school to target the labor shortage in its field, the Miami Herald reports.

CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Clay County superintendent Addison Davis says an election challenge for his seat compels him to perform even better for the district, Clay Today reports.

‘BEST AND BRIGHTEST’ BONUSES: Lake County school district and teacher union leaders reach an agreement on how to award any bonus funds that remain after state-defined amounts are distributed, the Daily Commercial reports.

CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION: The national Freedom From Religion Foundation accuses two Flagler County high schools of violating the First Amendment by allowing staff to attend an annual prayer service with students, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAMS: The Miami-Dade County School Board publicly discusses a report detailing problems with a Jewish center’s after-school programs at district campuses, the Miami Herald reports. Officials say the shortcomings could have put children at risk of danger.

TAX DISPUTE: Duval County school district lawyers say they were unaware the City Council sought an Attorney General’s Office opinion on the sides’ disagreement over when the district could hold a tax referendum, as their court case on the issue continues, the Florida Times-Union reports.

NEW SCHOOLS: A housing developer donates 30 acres to the St. Johns County school district for a future K-8 school, the St. Augustine Record reports.

LEGAL FEES: A circuit judge hears arguments over whether the Okaloosa County school district should be required to pay $283,000 in legal fees incurred by former superintendent Mary Beth Jackson in her fight against being removed from office, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

BAD ACTS: The principal of Manatee County’s Palmetto Elementary is removed amid allegations she ‘thrust’ a student with special needs out of a chair and onto the floor, the Bradenton Herald reports. • A Duval County elementary school librarian is arrested at school on charges of grand theft, the Florida Times-Union reports.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.
  2. Students grieve at Pine Trails Park, near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one month to the day since 17 students and staff were shot dead there, March 14, 2018. [SAUL MARTINEZ  |  New York Times]
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. Addison Davis, the superintendent of Clay County District Schools, was chosen Tuesday as the new Hillsborough County school superintendent. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The School Board’s vote is unanimous for Davis, who calls himself “an accelerator.”
  4. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.
  5. Rep. Anthony Sabatini presents his bill to create school board term limits to the Florida House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Jan. 21, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    The idea would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber before it could appear on the ballot.
  6. Left to Right: Ryan Petty and Andrew Pollack talk about the death of their daughters during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland before a meeting in the Capitol in Tallahassee. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times] [Scott Keeler]
    Ryan Petty replaces Andrew Pollack, both Parkland parents. Pollack recently moved to Oregon.
  7. Pat Hall of the League of Women Voters speaks with Addison Davis, a finalist for Hillsborough Schools Superintendent, on Jan. 16 at Rampello K-8 School in Tampa. [MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff]
    In a last-minute push, members of the League of Women Voters want the School Board to explore Addison Davis’ possible ties to Charter Schools USA.
  8. Michael Maine is the Hernando County School District senior recruiter. [Hernando County School District]
    The district has on average 39 teacher openings.
  9. Carrie Wilson, a counselor at Challenger K-8 school, was named the 2020 teacher of the year for the Hernando County School District. [Hernando County School District]
  10. Children participate in a sorting exercise during activities in a pre-K  class in Tampa.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
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