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Florida education news: Panic alarms, construction funds and the right age for arresting students

A roundup of stories from around the state.
Foto tomada del video que muestra a la pequeña Kaia Rolle siendo llevada por policías en Orlando, Florida, el 19 de septiembre del 2019. (Departamento de Policía de Orlando/Orlando Sentinel via AP)
Foto tomada del video que muestra a la pequeña Kaia Rolle siendo llevada por policías en Orlando, Florida, el 19 de septiembre del 2019. (Departamento de Policía de Orlando/Orlando Sentinel via AP) [ AP ]
Published Mar. 5, 2020

SAFETY DANCE: For three years now, Florida lawmakers have attempted to create school security laws that create safer environments for students and staff. After battles over hot-button issues such as letting teachers carry guns, the Legislature finally appeared to have a non-controversial proposal this time around. Then the officers at an Orlando school arrested a six-year-old, sparking an international outcry for action. The House looks to have found a solution.

WANNA BUY A PANIC ALARM? The ongoing effort to make schools safer includes a proposal to place panic alarms throughout campuses, to make it easier to report incidents. Simple, right? Not when vendors smell a payday. With more from the USA Today Network.

PREVENTIVE MEASURES: Florida had its third coronavirus case confirmed. So ... State science fair organizers canceled their annual event. St. Pete College and the University of South Florida called off travel abroad plans. And school districts around the state, including Broward and Palm Beach, continued their planning on how to keep the illness out of their schools. Meanwhile, students have found out how jittery everyone is about the virus, the Miami Herald reports. We can’t say it enough: Stay calm and wash your hands.

CONSTRUCTION FUNDS: Hillsborough County school district officials say they need to build 38 new schools in the next 15 years to keep up with growth. The only problem: They don’t have enough money to do it. They asked the County Commission to increase impact fees for the first time in more than a decade. That proposal came up for a vote on Wednesday.

THEY CAN’T AFFORD IT: Teachers throughout Florida say their salaries don’t make it easy to pay for a place to live close to their schools. Many are taking second jobs to make ends meet, the Fort Myers News-Press reports. And some school districts are getting creative in trying to help with the housing, the USA Today Network reports.

ON THE LIST: With limited money available, some Broward County residents are questioning whether a school that’s only half filled should receive a multimillion-dollar overhaul, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

BE QUIET: Saying just allowing schools to offer a daily moment of silence isn’t good enough, the Florida House approved legislation to require it, the News Service of Florida reports.

SHAKE YOUR BOOTY: Nastya Nass brought her twerking celebrity to Miami, where she recorded one of her latest videos in a high school gym. Bet you can guess what will happen to the coach who let her in, as the Miami Herald reports.

FOOD IN SPACE: Culinary students from across Florida are competing to send a meal to the International Space Station, WUFT reports.

NO PLACE TO GO: The Alachua County school district is planning major renovations for two middle schools. Why can’t its leaders decide where to send students while the work takes place? The Gainesville Sun reports.

UNION LABEL: Teachers, firefighters and other state employees protested HB 1 as union busting. Not surprisingly, the House passed it. But can it get through the Senate? Florida Politics reports.

TODAY: The Florida Senate goes to the floor at 10 a.m. On third reading: HB 7011 on student athletes, HB 171 on postsecondary education for certain military personnel. On special order: HB 70 on panic alarms, SB 7040 on school security, HB 37 on school bus safety. • The Florida House convenes at 10:30 a.m. On special order: HB 23 on panic alarms.

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Florida education news roundup