Armed guards, busing woes, nepotism and more

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Armed guards: Despite the extreme rarity of school shootings, Florida law requires an armed guard in every school. And despite that law, a third of Broward County charter schools still do not have an armed guard. Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Florida Politics As many as 200 schools may not have armed guards. News Service of Florida. A state commission on school security got heated on Wednesday when a discussion erupted over the new guardian program that allows armed teachers in classrooms with school district approval. The panel is expected to meet with the Broward superintendent today over charter schools in his district that have not hired armed security guards. News Service of Florida, WFOR. The Citrus County School Board approves a $2.4 million contract with the county sheriff’s office to provide school security and will offer iPad insurance to parents. Citrus County Chronicle.

Busing struggles: After the new busing policies left students stranded and parents waiting, Leon County school district terminates the head of transportation and reinstates old rules and routes. WFSU, Tallahassee Democrat. Parents give Leon County officials an earful over bushing woes. Tallahassee Democrat.

Charter schools: 32 charter schools operate in Duval County. How are they different from your neighborhood school? WJAX.

Mental health: A Hillsborough County School Board member hosted a town hall on mental health to learn from providers and answer questions from parents. Tampa Bay Times.

Public records: A judge declares that the Parkland school shooter is not allowed to keep his visitors a secret. His defense attorneys argued that the visitor list should be secret otherwise it might giveaway their strategy. Sun Sentinel.

School operators: A politically connected firm will take over operations of two struggling Hillsborough County public schools. The firm will be paid nearly $1.5 million if approved, however state law requires financial penalties for firms if results don’t improve. Tampa Bay Times.

Superintendent contracts: Escambia County’s current school superintendent is pushing for a rule that would require a supermajority to fire appointed superintendents without cause. Pensacola News Journal.

Time to celebrate: A Florida mom celebrates the first day of school with a trip to Disney World…without her children. Orlando Sentinel.

School threats: A Broward County high school student was arrested for threatening to bring a gun to school. Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald.

Nepotism: The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) revealed that a Department of Education (DOE) staffer engaged in nepotism by hiring and supervising her own sister and created a conflict of interest by seeking work with a contract she managed on behalf of the DOE. THe OIG could find no evidence she uttered racial slurs or created a hostile working environment. Tallahassee Democrat.

Non discrimination: Democratic lawmakers who have voted against school choice programs the past, and backed by school voucher opponents like the state teacher’s union, filed a bill that would prohibit private schools participating in school choice programs from denying admissions to LGBTQ students and children with disabilities. Public schools, not targeted by the bill, are currently not required to accept all students with disabilities. Additionally, several public school districts in Florida currently deny transgender students from using bathrooms other than the one based on the child’s sex at birth. Spectrum 13, Tampa Bay Times.

Student discipline: A state commission recommends Broward County schools end the Promise Program. The program was intended to keep kids from being arrested for petty offenses, but critics contend it lets kids off the hook for bad behavior. Sun Sentinel. Pinellas County public schools are disciplining far fewer students. The district says that’s a sign of a better school atmosphere, but teachers say it has been harder to control their classrooms. Tampa Bay Times.

Sales taxes: How would Duval County charter schools share a potential sales tax increase for school maintenance and facilities? School board members are not in agreement yet. Florida Times-Union, Florida Politics.

Teacher removed: A Duval County public school teacher was removed from his classroom for writing on the whiteboard that students “should feel lucky” to live in America and that they should stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, and more. Florida Times-Union.

Traffic jams: Volusia County parents are stuck in traffic taking kids to and from school. Daytona Beach News Journal.

Opinions on schools: Democratic lawmaker Rep. Wengay Newton “kept it real,” at a townhall meeting discussed his passion for education, equal opportunity and school choice scholarships. Lorraine McBride, redefinED.