A Florida school district’s move to replace controversial mascots stalls

·4 min read

There’s been a national move away from school mascots and logos that have been considered insensitive to Native American culture. Look no further than the football team based in Washington, D.C. The effort has been slow going in places, including in Florida. One Tampa Bay school system started the process more than two years ago, and the debate continues. Read on for that story and more Florida education news.

The Hillsborough County school district has been talking about changing the mascots for two high schools. It abruptly canceled all the meetings, upsetting activists. “I think there’s a lot of people that cling to a tradition that they have and they don’t realize the impact that tradition is having on native people throughout the country and here,” said Sheridan Murphy, a director at the Florida Indigenous Alliance.

Coronavirus concerns

The delta variant of COVID-19 has begun to recede in Florida. School-aged children who cannot get vaccinated remain the highest risk group for infection.

Florida has begun imposing sanctions on school districts with strict mask mandates. Some of those districts have softened their policies in response, Florida Phoenix reports.

Schools still are dealing with virus-related quarantines. The State Board of Education will consider extending a rule counting those students as being in attendance if they participate in educational activities while out, the News Service of Florida reports. • The State Board meets at 9 a.m. today. It also will consider a new rule on civic education, among other action.

Some districts are extending COVID-related benefits to staff. The Duval County School Board approved quarantine sick leave for its teachers, and also a financial incentive for those who get vaccinated, the Florida Times-Union reports.

When lawmakers approved $1,000 pandemic bonuses for classroom teachers and principals, many school employees were not included. The Martin County School Board is working on a plan to give similar bonuses to its workers who didn’t get one, WPTV reports.

Many home-schooled children have spent a lot of time indoors lately. In Seminole County, a group of them took the opportunity to get out for the return of their annual fall dance, which was canceled last year, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Leadership issues

The Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association needs a new executive director. Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins is leaving after a decade to work for the national American Federation of Teachers.

Jefferson County school district officials are preparing to retake control of their schools. They’ve introduced a transition plan to move away from the charter group that has operated the campuses as part of a state mandated turnaround effort, the Jefferson County Journal reports.

A Lee County School Board member’s controversial comments about Guatemalan students is still drawing fire. Her colleagues on the board have asked the Governor’s Office to look into her for possible abuse of power for her remarks, while a community leader demanded her resignation, WINK reports.

Palm Beach County’s interim superintendent soon could have the job permanently. The School Board is slated to vote on his contract today, WPTV reports.

The Broward County school district is seeking a permanent superintendent. The School Board set a timeline to conduct final interviews in January, WPLG reports.

The Alachua County School Board gave tentative approval to new member districts. The changes will create create more diverse districts, WCJB reports.

Other school news

School threats are rising across the state. Flagler County officials are the latest to note an uptick in activities, WKMG reports.

It’s time for school districts to adopt their calendars for the coming year. The Broward County School Board is considering adding a Muslim holiday to its official days off, the Sun-Sentinel reports. (Subscription required)

The Sarasota County school district anticipates enrollment to grow by about 6,500 students in coming years. It’s planning three new schools to cope with the load, the Herald-Tribune reports.

From the court docket ... A Palm Beach County teen has sued the school district, claiming a teacher did nothing when she was assaulted in a locker room, Boca News Now reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Secondary Education subcommittee meets at 9 a.m. It will discuss dropout prevention issues. • The House Early Learning and Elementary Education subcommittee meets at 11 a.m. It will review early education governance and access. • The Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee meets at 3:30 p.m. It will talk about reading.

Don’t miss a story. Yesterday’s roundup is just a click away.

Before you go ... The Marvel world keeps on giving. Eternals clips are teasing us for the next installment.

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