Bill to restrict vaping, arming teachers, medical marijuana, trauma kits and more

Compiled by redefinED staff

Vaping legislation: State Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, has filed a bill that would raise the legal age to purchase e-cigarettes from 18 to 21, and ban the use of flavorings. She filed a similar bill last year that didn’t progress, but says increased awareness of the problem has her optimistic that a bill will pass in the legislative session that starts in January. Hillsborough County commissioners agreed last week to consider additional restrictions on e-cigarettes. and President Trump wants to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes. Tampa Bay Times. News Service of Florida. WUSF. The Lee County School District is emphasizing prevention in dealing with vaping problems. Fort Myers News-Press.

Arming teachers: Florida Department of Education officials say they cannot confirm a Wall Street Journal report this week that just seven of the state’s 67 school districts have approved the arming of teachers in classrooms or would consider doing so. DOE spokeswoman Cheryl Etters said, “As you know, we currently do not have a list of districts choosing to allow teachers to participate in the guardian program.” She has said the department would begin tracking that information with a “grant application for funding in coming years.” News Service of Florida.

Medical marijuana: Brevard County students with the proper documentation can now use medical marijuana on school campuses, the school board has decided. The policy change requires the drug to be administered by a registered caregiver, may be used only in nonsmokeable form, and may not be kept at schools. Florida Today.

Emergency kits: All Broward County schools are getting “stop the bleed” emergency kits thanks to a $512,000 state grant. The grant will buy 854 station units that each have each with eight kits for treating victims until emergency crews can arrive. That’s enough for two stations for each Broward public and charter school, said Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. Sun Sentinel.

High school start times: Orange County school officials will hold a series of public meetings this month and next to gauge interest in having later starting times at high schools. Four options for changes will be presented. Most Orange high schools now start at 7:20 a.m. Research has shown that later start times improves academic performance for high school students, and the issue has been discussed by the school board since at least 2008. Orlando Sentinel.

Makeup days: Hurricane Dorian closed Flagler County schools for three days last week, but school officials say only one of those days will need to be made up thanks to an extension of the school day approved two years ago. School will be in session Oct. 14, which had been scheduled as a teacher development day. Flagler Live. WJXT.

Superintendent’s salary: The next superintendent for the Indian River County School District will be paid about $175,000, school board members have agreed. The search for Mark Rendell’s replacement is expected to begin next month. He quit in April, and Susan Moxley was hired in May to be the interim superintendent. TCPalm.

Video recording policy: Pasco County school officials are proposing a policy that would add visitors to the list of those who are prohibited from taking photos or videos at schools without explicit consent. Students and staff are already barred from doing so. The change was prompted by videos taken by a family new to the district who make a living showing their daily lives to their 1.1 million YouTube channel subscribers. Those videos angered students, parents and staff who were recorded without their permission. Gradebook.

Video prompts repairs: A Facebook video showing a Bay High School girls bathroom with an unflushed toilet, stall doors with no closing latches, stalls with no toilet paper and broken sinks prompts school officials to make immediate repairs. “We are not making excuses, nor is the principal, but the bathroom will be closed off today since it is not needed and is in disrepair,” read a statement made by the district. Panama City News Herald.

New use for old school? Prairie View Elementary School, closed since 2008, could be renovated and used temporarily while other Alachua County schools are being renovated. School and county officials are considering a proposal to renovate Prairie View by next June so it could house Idylwild Elementary School students for a year while their school is being renovated. “I just think it’s a smart solution,” said County Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler. “It’s a charming, lovely campus.” Gainesville Sun.

Property for schools: The Santa Rosa County School District is proposing to buy a 63-acre property that could become the future home of two schools. The parcel, located in the Pace area, will cost $1.6 million. “We need at least two, maybe three, schools in the Pace area in the next 10 years, so we’re certainly looking at that property as being the site for at least one of those schools,” said Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. The school board will vote on the proposed agreement next month. Pensacola News Journal.

Education podcasts: What is the role of public comments for the Hillsborough County School Board? The district is soliciting opinions as it considers crucial decisions, including choosing a new leader. Gradebook.

Personnel moves: Jeff Morford, an assistant principal at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was accused of failures during the 2018 shooting, has decided to retire. He has been under investigation by the school district for his actions. His last day was Sept. 4. Sun Sentinel.

School Twitter account hacked: A photo of a partially nude young woman or teenager was posted briefly on the Twitter account of DeLand High School on Thursday night. Principal Melissa Carr said the account had been hacked. The post was deleted and the password of the account was changed. Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Coaching stipends: The Santa Rosa County School Board approves changes in the supplements that coaches receive. The revisions will add oversight to the way supplements are approved, evaluate those who receive supplements and require documentation of time worked. The changes were prompted by problems revealed in an investigation of the way Milton High School paid coaches. Pensacola News Journal.

Band to play on: The East Ridge High School marching band will resume its performances Sept. 27 despite a fire that damaged some of its equipment. School officials say the damage wasn’t as bad as initially feared after the fire last week. Daily Commercial. Orlando Sentinel.

Teacher, student fight: A Sarasota County School District teacher has been placed on administrative leave after fighting with a student at Riverview High School. District police officers are investigating. WWSB. WTSP. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Teacher retires, not fired: A former Palm Beach County teacher who faced firing after being accused of dragging a student across a classroom floor in 2018 has retired. Zedrick Barber, 60, had been a social studies teacher at Howell L. Watkins Middle School when he was placed on unpaid leave after the incident. He returned to work washing windows for three days in April, then retired. Palm Beach Post.

Students in trouble: Six students were arrested Thursday after a fight broke out at in the courtyard of Middleton High School in Tampa. Two students had to be treated at a hospital for minor injuries. Tampa Bay Times. A Polk County student is suspended for 10 days and charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly beating up a 12-year-old boy at Blake Academy, and three other students were suspended for recording it and posting it on social media. Lakeland Ledger. Orlando Sentinel. WFLA. WTSP. WKMG. A student at the private Christopher Columbus High School in Miami is suspended for allegedly making a music video that suggests violence against students at three other south Florida high schools. Miami Herald. WPLG.

Stadium vandalism: Niceville High school officials are investigating to find out who spray-painted a racial slur on the visiting team bleachers at Fort Walton Beach’s Steve Riggs Stadium last week during the Niceville-Fort Walton Beach football game. Northwest Florida Daily News.

School bus accident: A Polk County school bus driver is cited for failing to yield the right-of-way and causing a collision in Haines City that injured the driver of a pickup truck. None of the 10 students headed to the Roosevelt Academy in Lake Wales was injured. Lakeland Ledger.

Student enrichment: The University of Tennessee has offered a tuition and fees scholarship to a Seminole County 4th-grader who was bullied for his homemade shirt supporting the school on college colors day at Altamonte Elementary School. Orlando Sentinel. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Associated Press. Five high school seniors from Martin County, three from Indian River County and two from St. Lucie County are among the 16,000 U.S. students named as semifinalists for the 2020 National Merit Scholarship. TCPalm.

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