Bans on TikTok and colleges having relationships with 7 ‘countries of concern’ signed by DeSantis, book reviews and more

Bill banning TikTok signed: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills on Monday that target Chinese influence in the state. One bans TikTok and other foreign-owned social media apps from government-issued devices, which followed an executive order banning the apps from college campuses, and another prohibits state universities and colleges from accepting grants or participating in partnerships with China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela. The third bans residents from those seven “countries of concern” from owning property in the state. News Service of Florida. Politico Florida. USA Today Florida Network. Tampa Bay Times. Florida Politics. WTSP. Suncoast News. Five education-related bills were sent to DeSantis from the Legislature on Monday. Among them are a ban on TikTok and other social media apps in K-12 schools, term limits for school board members, and the creation of a year-round school pilot program. He has until May 23 to act on the bills. WPTV. Office of the Governor. A review of other education-related bills that were approved by the Legislature. reimaginED.

Around the state: A survey of 23 Florida school districts that removed books from their libraries showed just 38 were removed for containing pornography with the rest being shelved for “inappropriate” content, the Destin High charter school added 50 percent more students in its second year and expects to add another 38 percent next year, a Jackson County elementary school will close next Monday for water line maintenance, and a teacher who let a 7th-grader use her vape pen was arrested in Lake County. Here are details about those stories and others from the state’s districts, private schools, and colleges and universities:

Miami-Dade: A 29-year-old teacher at a Jewish private school has been arrested and accused of inappropriate conduct with students at two schools where he previously worked. Police said Eric Bernard Givens was charged with several counts of battery in 2019 when he worked at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Miami. He then began working at the Theodore R. and Thelma A. Gibson Charter School in Miami, where he was accused of texting a 10-year-old former student to tell her he wanted to date her, and sent her a photo of himself in his underwear. When he was arrested he was in his first year of working at the Scheck Hillel Community School. No incidents have been reported there, and the school has fired Givens. Head of the school Rabbi Ari Leubitz said Givens cleared a Florida Department of Law Enforcement background check. WPLG. WSVN. WFOR. WTVJ.

Brevard: State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, and an apparent candidate for the presidency of Florida Atlantic University, says an argument with his son’s teacher over a math problem led him into politics. The problem? His son was asked to add nine and six. He correctly answered 15, but the teacher marked it wrong because he hadn’t shown how he got the answer in the “common core” way. “I got into politics because I got angry about education,” Fine said last year. “I went and complained to my son’s school … and (school officials) told me I wasn’t qualified to have an opinion about my child’s education. That was eight years ago. It’s only gotten worse since then. So I ran for the Legislature to do something about it.” Palm Beach Post.

Lake: A substitute teacher at Eustis High School was arrested May 2 and accused of allowing a 7th-grader to take a hit from her vape pen. Jennifer Hale, 50, told police she “was just trying to fit in.” She’s charged with child abuse. WKMG. WFTV. WESH.

Marion: The father of a boy suspended from riding a school bus was arrested and accused of boarding a bus and striking an employee. Esdra Burges-Cruz, 50, of Ocala, was arrested the next day after school officials saw a video of the incident that was recorded by a student. WOFL.

Okaloosa: In just its second year, the Destin High charter school is already overcrowded and is adding another building. In its first year, Destin High had 300 students in grades 9 through 11 in the building that used to be a church. This year it has 470, and next year it expects 650. “We’re bursting at the seams, and we are using every inch of every building,” said Destin High principal Christine Cruickshank. “So, we are looking forward to the new building.” It will be three floors with 26,000 square feet of space and can accommodate up to 800 students. The cost is $10 million. Northwest Florida Daily News.

Jackson: Cottondale Elementary School will close next Monday while workers perform water line maintenance at the school that is required by the city of Cottondale. Teachers and other employees are required to report to school, and 2nd-graders will still meet at the school to take a scheduled field trip. WCTV. WJHG.

Colleges and universities: At Wednesday’s meeting, Florida’s Board of Governors will consider revising a regulation for university president searches that would give the BOG an earlier look at contract terms. The board’s representative on the presidential search committee would update the board on the “specifics of the analysis,” and the board would be required to  review “contemplated contract terms” before candidates are invited for on-campus interviews. News Service of Florida. Gainesville and University of Florida police effectively stopped issuing criminal citations for underage drinking since 2018. “We simply ask officers not to arrest,” said State Attorney Bryan Kramer. Instead, those citations are steered into the office’s diversion program. ” The intent of the program is to prevent the creation of a criminal record for first-time offenders who — have in mind — are nonviolent,” Kramer said. Fresh Take Florida.

Important school dates: When do schools get out this year? When do they start for the 2023-2024 school year? What holidays are observed? Here are answers from the Florida Department of Education. Pensacola News Journal.

Flagging books in Florida: In March, Gov. DeSantis said 153 of the 175 books removed from school libraries “were identified as pornographic, violent, or inappropriate for their grade level.” But a survey of 23 Florida school districts that removed books from their libraries showed just 38 were removed for containing pornography, with the rest being shelved for “inappropriate” content. And many of the books deemed to contain pornography do not meet the legal definition of the word. Popular Information. Several states are starting to pass laws that threaten book publishers with fines and even imprisonment for providing K-12 schools with books that contain “obscene matter.” And U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, a Republican representing Seminole and Volusia counties, has introduced a bill in Congress that would “prohibit a publishing house from knowingly furnishing sexually explicit material to a school or an educational agency,” and ban funding for any school or agency that distributes it. Time.

Opinions on schools: Charter schools have an intrinsic value in providing new opportunities and in creating competitive effects, but geographically inclusive charter sectors might have the additional benefit by encouraging district open enrollment. Suburban charter schools may be force multipliers because they can create a powerful incentive for suburban districts to participate in open enrollment. Private choice can do the same. Matthew Ladner, reimaginED. Knowledge gained from real science, real learning, real history, is apparently so dangerous it must be regulated and monitored in Florida. Those who go around spouting the wrong kind of knowledge must be cast out. Diane Roberts, Florida Phoenix. We have to work together to find a way for teachers to be able to afford to live in Collier County. Dennis Chapman, Fort Myers News-Press.

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BY NextSteps staff