Around the state: Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey vows a crackdown on school discipline is coming, Sarasota Superintendent Brennan Asplen said he’s resigning after a majority of the board called a meeting to fire him, a federal appeals court has denied a request from the Moms for Liberty for a temporary injunction to block the Brevard school board’s restrictions on speakers at meetings, five finalists are chosen for the Hillsborough school district’s teacher of the year award, and Florida A&M University has released its five-month hold on a woman’s transcripts after it appeared she posed nude with the campus Rattler sculpture. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:
Hillsborough: Five finalists have been chosen for the school district’s teacher of the year award. They are: Elizabeth Osborn, an Advanced Placement psychology teacher at Alonso High School; Josette Dailey, a 3rd-grade teacher at Forest Hills Elementary; Nicolette Barone, a 5th-grade teacher at Oak Park Elementary; Liz Hawley, media specialist at Dowdell Middle; and Rebecca Oakeson, a preK special education teacher at Kingswood Elementary. The winner will be announced Jan. 26. Hillsborough Education Foundation. WTVT. A former custodian at an elementary school was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for possession of child pornography. Charles Currie, 66, pleaded guilty to the charges in August. WFLA.
Orange: School board members debated Monday how to comply with the state’s Parental Rights in Education law and still adhere to curriculum standards for such advanced classes as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. “There are certain AP ones where there are books required, additional reading. And those books have explicit content. They are adult books. It’s an adult class. It’s a college-level class,” said board member Alicia Farrant. A revised policy will be presented at the Dec. 13 board meeting. WESH.
Brevard: School board chair Matt Susin, county Sheriff Wayne Ivey and others announced Monday that a “brand new day” for discipline in schools is coming. Ivey sharply criticized “the failure of the school discipline program here at Brevard Public Schools,” but gave no details about what the changes would be. “If you’re a little snot that’s coming to our classes to be disruptive, you might want to find some place else to go to school because we’re going to be your worst nightmare starting right now,” Ivey said. Florida Today. WKMG. Space Coast Daily. WOFL. WPLG. WESH. A federal appeals court has denied a request from the Moms for Liberty for a temporary injunction to block the school board’s restrictions on speakers at meetings. A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a district judge’s denial of the preliminary injunction request against the policy, which Moms for Liberty claimed violated First Amendment rights. It wrote, “We find no abuse of discretion in the district court’s thorough, well-reasoned order. We therefore affirm the district court’s order denying appellants’ motion for preliminary injunction.” The lawsuit challenging the policy continues at the district court level. News Service of Florida.
Seminole: A former Seminole High School student who was shot by a 16-year-old classmate on campus in January is suing the school board, claiming school officials failed to take the proper action before the shooting. Jhavon McIntyre and his family contend that school officias didn’t pursue the claim that the 16-year-old had a gun, didn’t notify his parents about the gun claim and failed to help him immediately after the shooting. WKMG.
Volusia: Newly re-elected District 1 school board member Jamie Haynes was chosen by her colleagues Monday as board chair. Anita Burnette, who represents Ditrict 2, was elected vice chair. Also sworn in Monday were District 5 board member Ruben Colon and Jessie Thompson, the District 3 representative. Daytona Beach News-Journal. Dual-language classes debuted this year in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten levels at Spirit Elementary School and the preK program at Holly Hill Elementary. Next year, the program expands to the VPK at Discovery Elementary in Deltona and kindergarten at Freedom Elementary in DeLand. “You’d be surprised how much kids absorb the language beginning at an early age,” said Sylvia Garcia-Wolff, languages curriculum specialist and program coordinator. “The younger you are, the easier it is to learn the language, and what happens is that what they learn in one language transfers to the other language. All the content, all the skills transfer from one language to the other.” Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Sarasota: School Superintendent Brennan Asplen said Monday night that he’s resigning because he’s accepted “the fact that (he) will soon be separated by the school board” and that a collaborative relationship “does not appear to be attainable.” In a 4-1 vote last week, the new school board called for a meeting to discuss firing Asplen, who has been superintendent since August 2020. That meeting is this afternoon. Asplen has been negotiating departure terms since the school board’s vote of no confidence. “I wish Sarasota County schools only the brightest future and healing,” he said in a statement, adding he hopes the board can do better by its next superintendent and keep her or him out of the “quagmire of the political arena.” Charlotte Sun. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. WUSF. WFLA. WTSP. WTVT. Sarasota Military Academy is being criticized by a mother who claims the charter school hasn’t done enough to protect her 10th-grade son from racial taunts and bullying. School officials said the incidents have been handled appropriately. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Putnam: A school resource officer has been arrested and accused of sexually assaulting a student who was older than 12 but younger than 18 at the time of the assault in 2018. Deputies said the girl, who is no longer a minor, came forward Nov. 13 to report the alleged assault by Joshua Herren, 36. After being placed on administrative leave by the sheriff’s office, Herren resigned. WCJB. WGFL. WJAX. WJXT. WTLV.
Colleges and universities: Florida A&M University has released its hold on the diploma of a woman who posed for a racy photo in front of the school’s Rattler sculpture in July. Terica Williams finally received her master’s degree in counselor education after the university concluded that she was not nude in the photo because she was wearing a thong, and therefore didn’t violate the student code or any laws. Tallahassee Democrat. FAMU also announced it will conduct a campus safety review after a shooting Sunday at an outdoor basketball court at the school left one dead and four wounded. WFSU. WCTV. Just eight Florida colleges were named to the Princeton Review’s list of 455 “green” colleges in the United States. Schools were judged based on student surveys that asked about environmental practices including course offerings, student involvement in sustainability policy and waste-diversion efforts. Florida schools chosen are the University of Miami, which at 26th was the only state schools in the top 50, Stetson University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Rollins College, University of Central Florida, University of Florida and the University of South Florida. Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Around the nation: The number of U.S. students who lost a caregiver rose 25 percent during the pandemic, according to a report from Judi’s House, an organization that supports bereaved children. Between 2016 and 2019, the number of caregiver deaths averaged about 260,000 a year. In 2020 it jumped to more than 325,000. The study attributed the increase to deaths from COVID-19 complications, guns and drugs. The 74.
Opinions on schools: The curricular preferences of special interest groups that all too easily dominate public education and have nothing to do with your interests as a student, parent or taxpayer are tragically ineffective. Lawmakers should and will attempt to stamp them out. Matthew Ladner, reimaginED. Education savings accounts empower parents with the ability to meet every family and child’s unique education needs and should be available to all school-aged children. Students need options such as ESAs now more than ever. Jonathan Butcher and Jason Bedrick, reimaginED.