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Florida schools are facing a new safety mandate. It causes confusion.

The big story: In the spirit of deregulation, Florida lawmakers did not impose many new mandates on public education during their 2024 session.

They made an exception for school safety.

Amid concerns that some campuses were not following recommended safety best practices, the Legislature has again reviewed the laws they have prioritized since the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. Among the changes was a rule stating that all school doors, gates and other access points must be closed or manned at all times when students are present.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, has school district officials trying to figure out how to keep students and employees safe while allowing for a steady flow of pedestrians throughout the day. “It’s the actual implementation of that bill that is causing the Pasco district, and districts across the state, a lot of silence,” Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning said. Read more here.

Popular topics

Advanced lessons: The Alachua County School District will have its first International Baccalaureate program for elementary school, the Gainesville Sun reports.

Book Challenges: The Florida Department of Education has clarified its rules regarding when schools must remove books because of sexual references, to bring them more into line with state law, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. Anti-censorship advocates want the state to go further.

Campus Closures: The Collier County School District is preparing to close Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and use its classrooms for programs at the neighboring technical college, WINK reports.

Charter schools: The St. Johns County Commission will consider whether to allow a new K-8 charter school in St. Augustine, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports.

High school sports: Concerns are growing that plans to allow high school name-image similarity deals for student-athletes will lead to improper recruiting, the Palm Beach Post reports.

JROTC Programs: Coast Guard ROTC, which operates at just 10 schools nationwide, is expanding its efforts, including in Florida, Bay News 9 reports.

Prom evening: Miami-Dade County high schools are taking their prom parties to a new level, the Miami Herald reports.

School board elections: Supporters of Amendment 1, which allows partisan elections for school boards in Florida, say they wanted to increase transparency in the system and not favor one party over another, the Miami Herald reports. • A 16-year member of the Escambia County School Board says he will not seek re-election, NorthEscambia.com reports.

School choice: As some of Florida’s largest school systems close campuses due to declining enrollment, experts disagree on whether school choice and voucher programs are to blame, The Hill reports. Meanwhile, families are submitting school voucher applications for the coming academic year at a record pace, WUSF reports.

To test: Officials with the Broward County School District are investigating allegations that a fifth-grade teacher helped students with their end-of-year exams, WPLG reports.

From the police magazine… A former Marion County high school counselor was arrested on charges of several counts of sexual misconduct with students, WFLA reports. • A Broward County high school teacher was arrested on charges of child molestation against a student, WSVN reports.

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In higher ed

Culture Wars: In his speech at New College, Governor Ron DeSantis accused universities of becoming corrupt left-wing indoctrination centers that have undermined American society, the Herald-Tribune reports.

Florida A&M University: President Larry Robinson spoke about FAMU’s growth in research and increased enrollment during his school commencement address, but remained silent on a controversial $237 million gift offer that remains under investigation, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Teacher training: The University of Central Florida offers free master’s degrees in special education for teachers who want to work in Florida schools. The state has a shortage of about 2,500 ESE teachers, WLRN reports.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to Friday’s roundup.

Before you go… The United Nations recognizes National Cycling Day on June 3, in support of health initiatives and environmentally sustainable transportation around the world. How about this one?