Book reviews challenge Florida schools

The big story: Florida schools face a new challenge this year as they select books for their shelves.

Whether purchased or donated, all titles must be reviewed by a trained librarian or media specialist, with particular attention paid to recently implemented rules on sensitive topics such as gender and race.

Even though the rules took effect July 1, the state won’t be sending out guidance on how to implement them until January. Pinellas County district leaders didn’t want to wait to prepare for the inevitable challenges, so they devised their own process in the meantime.

“We have 131 school library media programs,” district library services coordinator Bronwyn Slack said. “We had to start talking about this in a real way.”

Read about the effort here.

Hot topics

Student discipline: Saying behavior has gotten out of hand, the Pasco County school district announced it would move to expel students with two medium level or one serious level offenses. “There are consequences to your actions,” Superintendent Kurt Browning said.

Employee pay: The Pasco County school district offered a pay plan to support employees that would boost everyone’s wages by at least 5%, with hundreds of workers eligible for raises more than 50%. Negotiators said they could complete a deal within a week.

Gender issues: The Palm Beach County school district said it will allow students to use whatever name they prefer, WTVJ reports. • The Charlotte County School Board adopted new policies enshrining the state’s latest laws relating to instruction on gender and race, WFTX reports.

Back to school: South Florida teachers return to their classrooms with questions about how they’ll be treated given the gains made in the conservative agenda advanced by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his supporters, the Miami Herald reports.

School board policies: Fifteen candidates are vying for four seats on the Orange County School Board, the Orlando Sentinel reports. • Marta Perez, on the Miami-Dade County School Board since 1998, faces her first challenge since 2014, the Miami Herald reports.

Campus security: Members of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission called for more schools to implement the state’s guardian program, WTSP reports. They also expressed dismay at the slow pace that schools are adopting alert systems and discussed the inconsistent use of threat assessments, the News Service of Florida reports. • Broward County’s sheriff said he would like his department to take over policing in local schools, the Sun-Sentinel reports. More from Florida Politics.

Other school news

Connor McCord joined the Leon County School Board as its student representative to learn about policy and process. Serving during the pandemic, he learned a whole lot more, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

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An Osceola County charter school learned Monday its effort to retain its charter had failed. The decision left families and employees scrambling, WESH reports. School officials meanwhile fought to reverse the closure, WFTV reports.

The Duval County school district has started advertising to attract students. It’s touting the district as a better alternative than charter schools, which have seen strong growth, WJAX reports.

The Broward County school district spent about $100,000 to send principals and assistant principals to a leadership retreat at the Ritz-Carlton. Officials said they’ve been doing this for several years, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

The Jackson County school district is struggling to find bus drivers. Teachers, coaches and administrators are taking routes to help fill the void, WMBB reports.

Don’t miss the story. Here’s the link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go … It’s been a while since we heard from Gorillaz. Still enjoy the sound and the visuals. Here’s their latest.

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