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Board of Education adopts new rules, stop the bleed kits, FAMU buys housing and more

Around the state: County school boards and charter schools must follow new requirements for notifying parents about bathroom and locker room policies under rules adopted by the state Board of Education, a book giveaway occurred in Escambia, Florida A&M University officials purchased an apartment complex to help student housing woes, school board races moved forward statewide and an analysis of swatting calls at schools. Here are details about those stories and other developments from the state’s districts, private schools and colleges and universities:

Broward: Superintendent Vickie Cartwright has been on the job since February and has already faced evaluation from School Board members. School Board members voted to not support the “process” of the recent evaluation, saying it could be a precursor to the possibility Cartwright could be fired in coming weeks. WPLG. South Florida Sun Sentinel. A student at Cypress Bay High founded a club that has raised enough money to outfit every classroom in her high school with a medical Stop the Bleed kit. The idea was inspired by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in 2018. Miami Herald. The school district here is preparing for a recession. Staff requested for $7.7 million to be “realigned” from the general fund into the unassigned fund. South Florida Sun Sentinel.  Parents are getting a say in next year’s calendar. They have been emailed a survey link if they have a child enrolled in Broward’s K-12 schools. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Hillsborough: Some teachers move to charter schools — which are publicly funded but independently managed — after facing discipline elsewhere. But it’s unclear how extensively charter schools review them. Tampa Bay Times. Meanwhile, an ongoing bus driver shortage issue is causing some parents frustration regarding when their children arrive late to school. WFLA.

Orange: Four candidates are vying in runoffs in the Orange County School Board election. In District 2, Heather Ashby is running against Maria Salamanca, and in District 3, Michael Daniels is running against Alicia Farrant.

Pinellas: Critics say candidate Dawn Peters, running for an at-large seat on the school board here, has a more extreme set of views than her campaign reveals. They have begun passing around screenshots from her social media accounts.  Tampa Bay Times.

Lee: Education advocates have spoken out against a referendum here that would make the school superintendent position an election position. It has been an appointed position in Lee since 1974. WGCU.

Brevard: Two teachers will face off for the final Brevard School Board seat being contested this year. Florida Today.

Pasco: School Board hopeful Al Hernandez has suffered another legal blow in his fight to stay on the Nov. 8 ballot. After being declared ineligible for the general election by circuit court Judge Susan Barthle, Hernandez hired lawyers who wanted Barthle to put a stay on her order while he appealed, but Barthle refused. Tampa Bay Times. Students who attended Mittye P. Locke Elementary School in New Port Richey will attend different schools starting next fall. The school board on Tuesday unanimously agreed to shut down the school at the end of May and change it into a 10-classroom early education center that focuses on Head Start and prekindergarten. Tampa Bay Times.

Sarasota: At its first meeting since Hurricane Ian hit the southwest coast of the state, the School Board here convened to discuss damage from the storm along with other business. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Escambia: Students at Warrington Elementary received a gift Wednesday when “Two Men and a Truck” moving company partnered with “First Book” to give away books to students. WEAR.

Columbia: Two people were arrested after an incident that resulted in the lockdown of a Lake City area elementary school on Wednesday. Tyrese Bradley and Ja’Marion Terry were taken into custody by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office after fleeing on foot. First Coast News.

Rules adopted: The state Board of Education approved a wide array of rule changes on Wednesday that include a measure requiring school districts to inform parents about the presence of student bathrooms not separated by biological sex at birth. The Board also adopted a rule to prohibit lessons on sexual orientation or gender identity for students in kindergarten through third grade, and a rule regarding elementary school libraries. Teachers could lose their licenses for violating the rules. Orlando Sentinel. Tampa Bay Times. News 4 Jax. Florida Politics. Miami Herald. Pensacola News Journal. 

Mental health: On the heels of a jury’s recommendation last week to spare Nikolas Cruz the death penalty in connection to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, some wonder if mental health played into the killings. Florida Phoenix.

School refusal: Studies suggest that 1 to 2 percent of all students experience school refusal at some point in their school careers, and students with specific disabilities can be at particular risk in middle and high school. Education Week.

Student harassment: The majority of LBGTQ students who attended school in person during the 2020-21 academic year experienced some form of harassment or assault, according to a study. The 74th.

New preschool: The permitting phase is underway for construction to begin on a new preschool, which is slated to open in late spring 2023 in Ocala. The preschool is part of the new expansion program of the Florida Center for the Blind, and is funded by a $600,000 grant that was approved by the Marion County Commission in March of 2022 to purchase land. WUFT.

Swatting calls: At least 16 emergency calls across Florida on one day recently reported an active shooter at a school. Each call ended up being a hoax. Tampa Bay Times.

University and college news: Florida A&M University bought the 118-bed Light House at Brooklyn Yard apartment complex on Eugenia Street in an effort to assist with higher demand for on-campus housing. Aging residence halls are scheduled for demolition, and the university is planning to add up to 2,000 on-campus beds in the next few years. WFSU. The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice announced the appointment of Angela Garcia Falconetti, president of Polk State College, to the Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention State Advisory Group.  Lakeland Ledger.

Opinions on schools: The state’s secretive new university presidential search law is a colossal failure and a greater insult to the public than expected. South Florida Sun Sentinel.

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BY Camille Knox