Florida still pushing to make schools safer five years after Parkland shooting – Tampa Bay Times

The big story: It’s been nearly five years since the fatal shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Despite all the attention given to improving security measures in the aftermath, some police departments have yet to make significant changes to their plans for dealing with school shooters.

An advisory committee empaneled to come up with recommendations to improve school security is about to issue a guide to help departments craft such policies.

“This is the first time that I know of that any entity has adopted a model active assailant response policy for police agencies in Florida,” said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, the commission’s chairman. Read more from the Sun-Sentinel.

Hot topics

African American studies: Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida schools may not teach a new AP course in African American studies because it indoctrinates children on race issues. Scholars involved in creating the course say that’s not true, NPR reports. • Florida International University professor emeritus Marvin Dunn is defying DeSantis’ directives not to offer opinions when teaching about race and history, the Washington Post reports. • One Florida senator suggested banning the course violates state law requiring the teaching of African American history, Florida Politics reports. • Florida’s position on the course has come under fire from several groups, which say the state is attempting to silence Black voices, Afro News reports. More from Reuters.

High school sports: A state lawmaker has proposed legislation to allow charter school student-athletes to play sports at private schools, Florida Politics reports. • Another lawmaker has filed a bill to allow high schools participating in state championships two minutes of access to the public address system, the News Service of Florida reports. The measure comes as a Tampa private religious school fights in court over its right to publicly pray before its 2015 championship game.

Library books: New laws in Florida and other states have restricted school library purchases to the point that many aren’t buying books, the Washington Post reports. • Manatee County teachers have been told to vet their classroom libraries against new state requirements, and remove books that do not comply, WWSB reports.

Religious diversity: The Miami-Dade County school district will not hold classes on Eid al-Fitr for the first time, the Miami Herald reports.

Restroom use: The Leon County school district is set to change its rules so that students must use the restroom associated with their biological sex at birth, or a single occupancy bathroom, Tallahassee Reports reports.

Superintendents: The Broward County School Board will discuss whether to retain or dismiss superintendent Vickie Cartwright, who was given 90 days to improve her performance, WSVN reports.

Universities and colleges: The American Association of University professors condemned the joint statement by Florida college presidents that pledged not to support anything connected to critical race theory, calling it an assault on intellectual freedom, Inside Higher Education reports.

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Vouchers: Florida’s march toward universal vouchers has been 25 years in the making, WFSU reports. A Florida House subcommittee is scheduled to take up legislation on the topic on Thursday.

Other school news

The Collier County school district has created a new staff attorney position. The School Board plans to interview four candidates for the post, WGCU reports.

Alachua County has one full magnet school. The career and technical school is considered a “hidden gem” within the district, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Residents of Viera in Brevard County have been lobbying since 2007 for a new middle school. The groundbreaking comes Feb. 1, Florida Today reports.

From the police blotter … A Brevard County teacher was arrested on allegations of attempting to lure a child for sex, WKMG reports.

From the court docket … A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by operators of the former Lincoln Memorial Academy charter school against the Manatee County school district and others. They’re planning to appeal, the Bradenton Herald reports.

Before you go … Not sure how to tell when sheep are happy? Watch this video.

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