Activists take aim at Florida schools with Native American mascots, logos

Published Jun. 7|Updated Jun. 7

The big story: Advocacy groups have clamored to remove Native American mascots and logos from several Hillsborough County schools for the past three years.

They made some early headway with some elementary and middle schools. But their effort to effect change at East Bay and Chamberlain high schools stalled out.

Now activists plan to take their message to the streets. They intend to protest outside the School Board’s June 21 meeting in downtown Tampa, Creative Loafing reports.

“It’s time to be actually respectful of the Indigenous peoples,” the Florida Indigenous Alliance wrote in a statement on its Facebook page.

Hot topics

Absenteeism: A rise in student absences has some Central Florida educators concerned about continued learning losses, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

School safety: A group of Broward County students raised money so every classroom at their high school can have a “stop the bleed” kit in case of a future shooting, WSVN reports.

Mental health: Escambia County school counselors and social workers say the extent of the pandemic effects on students is greater than initially thought, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

Parkland trial: Defense attorneys attempted to withdraw from their representation of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter in his death penalty trial, the Associated Press reports.

Other school news

Former state senator John Legg announced his bid for Pasco County schools superintendent two years ahead of time. He quickly snagged endorsements from tax collector Mike Fasano and outgoing Senate president Wilton Simpson, Florida Politics reports.

Another new charter school has been proposed for Sarasota County. Some neighbors are opposing the application by Charter Schools USA, saying they want to protect public education, the North Port Sun reports.

Learning about space is still cool. Several Florida school districts are working with NASA to develop a curriculum that will give students more access to the space program, the Citrus County Chronicle reports.

From the court docket … A former Walton County student has sued the school district, claiming a School Board member’s animosity toward his father opened the door for educators to treat him with hostility, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. • An appellate judge has allowed a class action suit against the University of South Florida to proceed, Florida Politics reports. The suit involves a claim for a partial tuition refund after in-person classes were canceled during the pandemic. • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state of Florida can seek reimbursement from Medicaid of a school district’s legal settlement in a medical case, Education Week reports.

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Before you go … Here’s a topic for debate: Do schools need more or fewer armed officers for campus security? Comedian John Oliver offers his controversial take in his latest HBO show. Give him a listen, and think about where you stand.

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