Florida school officials consider student rights in wake of walkouts

The big story: Florida schools lately have been confronted by students who want to express their views on political issues during the class day.

This most recently manifested itself in walkouts to protest legislation governing instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation. In counties throughout the state, students rallied together, waving flags and making speeches on or near their campuses.

For the most part, school leaders attempted to work with the teens, ensuring that campus activities were not disrupted while students asserted their rights of speech and assembly.

Things have been a bit different in Flagler County, the site where a high school student coordinated a statewide protest. The School Board there has been discussing revisions to its policies on student boycotts, walkouts and sit-ins.

At least one Flagler board member has rejected students’ speech rights in schools except in the narrowest of circumstances. Read the story from Flagler Live.

hot topics

Math books that have been flagged by the state of Florida for inappropriate content pictured in the Tampa Bay Times studio on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Math textbooks: The Florida Department of Education released thousands of pages of reviewer comments about the 132 math textbooks proposed for use in public schools. At least one raised concern about the way race and politics were portrayed in the pages. Most reviewers found nothing wrong with the books. More from Political Florida, Orlando Sentinel

Taxes: A Hillsborough County citizens advisory group threw its support behind the school district’s August property tax referendum. • The Alachua County School Board held a high school track renovation project over concerns that the district’s sales tax was not intended to be used for such initiatives, WUFT reports.

Race lessons: University of Florida president Kent Fuchs has warned faculty and staff the school could lose about $100 million in state funding if it does not change the way race issues are taught to align with new state law, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Sex education: Some Hillsborough County parents are complaining about sex education materials in their middle schoolers’ classes, Bay News 9 reports.

Cell phones in classes: The Marion County School Board is debating whether to return to the days when cell phones must be turned off in classes, the Ocala Star Banner reports.

Other school news

The mascot for Ponte Vedra High in the shark. Someone hung a shark carcass at the St. Johns County school’s campus overnight as a senior prank, the St Augustine Record reports.

‘Wholesale negligence.’ The Broward County school district ignored elevator maintenance for years, the Sun Sentinel reports.

A new RAND study finds school principals face high levels of stress. School leaders in North Central Florida said they’re feeling it, WUFT reports.

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Okeechobee County principal Jenni Ellis is up for the state’s principal of the year award. She leads the same elementary school she attended as a child, WPTV reports.

Lee County schools are experiencing fast enrollment growth. District officials are exploring options to build new schools and expand existing ones, WFTX reports.

From the police blotter… A former Leesburg High School student told police that the school’s band director ran a secret society that included sexual activity, the DailyCommercial reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go… Buzz Lightyear has a back story. Who knew?

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