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Student safety, sales taxes, special education and more

Student safety: District leaders in Hillsborough County are looking to add 55 more crossing guards to improve student safety. Tampa Bay Times. Pasco County School Board votes “no” on allowing armed “guardians.” The Florida legislature passed a law during the last session allowing teachers to complete a gun safety program in order to conceal carry in the classroom with the approval of their local school board. Tampa Bay Times. Two high schools in St Johns County implement a “clear bag” policy for high school football games. Florida Times-Union. Businesses in Seminole County raised money to fund new security cameras for four local schools. WKMG.

Back to school and looking good: A private cosmetology school is offering free back-to-school haircuts to teachers and students. Sun Sentinel. Students can get free back-to-school haircuts at Floral City Elementary School tomorrow, August 8th. Citrus County Chronicle.

Database and privacy: Despite concerns over student privacy Florida launches a new database to track student threats, mental health and more. EdScoop.

Bully hotline: After more than 100 calls and several issues last year, Palm Beach County public schools will have a centralized, and local, bully hotline number this year. Palm Beach Post.

Math competition: Doral Academy Charter students placed 6th in a math competition at the Mu Alpha Theta National Convention held in Las Vegas. Miami Herald.

Net Zero: Florida’s first “Net Zero Energy” school opens August 12 in Kissimmee. Panorama.

Healthcare: Hotelier Harris Rosen to offer private health insurance “RosenCare” to Orange County School District employees. Orlando Sentinel.

Sales tax: Lawyers hired by the Duval County School Board say the Jacksonville city council can’t block a sales tax referendum intended to raise money for local schools. Florida Times-Union. The Jacksonville City Council is taking its time on the sales tax referendum, one member looking to push vote until 2020. Florida Politics.

School board: Is a bill to convert the Duval County School Board from an elected board to an appointed board taking away voter rights? WJAX.

School Orientation: Marion County posts back-to-school orientation times for parents. Ocala Star Banner.

Teach for America: After a year away, Duval County Schools will sign a new contract with Teach for America. The new contract will add 10 new teachers, though the district will not be placing them in high-needs Title I schools this year. Florida Times-Union.

Teacher pay: Brevard County identified another $1.5 million that can be put toward teacher salaries. Florida Today.

Opinion on schools: Private schools accepting taxpayer money through school vouchers must accept all students, including students with disabilities. Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel. Step Up for Students president Doug Tuthill sits down with two former public school administrators to discuss special education. They note that public schools not equipped to serve students with special needs also do not enroll those students. podcastED on redefinED. Florida refuses to evolve when it comes to science education. Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post. Being a teacher is mentally, physically and financially taxing. Not only are teachers expected to cover some classroom expenses personally, but they have top down mandates to learn at the last minute, no time to use the restroom during the school day and more says local teacher and school board candidate. Sarah Leonardi, Sun Sentinel.

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BY Patrick R. Gibbons

Patrick Gibbons is public affairs manager at Step Up for Students and a research fellow for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. A former teacher, he lived in Las Vegas, Nev., for five years, where he worked as an education writer and researcher. He can be reached at (813) 498.1991 or emailed at Follow Patrick on Twitter: at @PatrickRGibbons and @redefinEDonline.