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Education

    A second round of results from a statewide survey on school compliance with new state safety laws is expected to be released this afternoon. The report will be given to the statewide commission created in response to last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who will be meeting in Sunrise over the next two days. This is the second compliance survey conducted by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools. Results of the first survey were released two month ago and showed that nearly 200 schools did not have armed security officers, as required by Florida law. None of the schools were publicly identified due to the anonymity of the survey.  Now some members of the commission are urging Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to publicly identify school districts that had yet to meet all of the state’s school-safety requirements that were implemented after the February 14, 2018 shooting in Parkland. The final decision on whether to publicly identify the non-compliant school is expected this afternoon when the results of the second survey are delivered. The commission will also be discussing several other school-safety topics such as training for school resource officer and how often active-assailant drills are needed.  This is a developing story check back here for updates. 
  • Students in Central Florida head back to school today. Drivers can expect more traffic while parents and buses take their children to school.  Traffic reporter Raquel Asa from our sister station, WFTV Channel 9 Eyewitness News,  sat down with a panel of traffic safety experts who explained what drivers should look out for as the new school year begins. They said the biggest problem continues to be drivers not stopping for school buses.  The traffic safety experts also talked about how new cellphone laws apply to school zones. Drivers who violate the cellphone laws within a five-year period can face three points on their license and a $164 fine. Here's how to know if you have to stop for a school bus while driving: Here's how to know if your child's bicycle helmet properly fits:
  • All Florida schools are now linked to an app called FortifyFL that allows users to send information to school officials and law enforcement immediately. A student, teacher, parent or anyone can send pictures, a video or simply information through the app and can also receive followup if selected. The app is part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act and was named by students from the school. Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties have released statements about school safety and what they are doing to intercept suspicious activity. In addition to the ForitfyFl app Orange and Seminole counties are both promoting the speakout hotline. This is a toll free phone number and website to report tips anonymously.  It’s also linked to a smartphone app called P3 campus that is designed to receive tips. The product is similar to the FortifyFL app, but is being offered nationwide. P3 was a direct result of David’s law, which was established after the 2016 suicide of David Molak. He was the victim of cyber bullying.  The P3 website shows that 9:00 p.m. is the time that most reports are sent to the database and the top three concerns are suicide, bullying and drugs on campus.  It also shares the disturbing fact that in 81 percent of violent incidents in the U.S., someone other than the attacker knew the incident was going to happen and failed to report it. Here are the links to the apps and websites mentioned above. Click here for FortifyFL Click here for the speakout hotline. Click here for the p3 campus site. Also see the links below for your districts school safety statement for 2019-20. Click here for Orange County Click here for Seminole County Click here for Osceola County
  • Get ready, get set and plan to shop Florida’s back-to-school tax holiday which is set for Aug. 2-6. During those dates there will be no sales tax on a variety of items, including: Footwear, clothing and certain accessories that are less than $60 each Some school supplies less than $15 each Personal computers and certain computer-related accessories less than $1,000 or less per item. If the personal computer you buy is over $1,000, then only the first $1,000 of the total price will be tax-exempt. There are some rules that go along with the tax-free shopping holiday, other than price restriction. This sales tax holiday does not apply to: •  Books that are not otherwise exempt; •  Computers and computer-related accessories purchased for commercial purposes •  Rentals or leases of any eligible items • Repairs or alterations of any eligible items •  Sales of any eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport. Click here for the complete list from the Florida Department of Revenue.  
  • A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state. WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.” >> Read more trending news  According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.” According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.
  • They have picked out the perfect backpacks and matching lunchboxes. The lists of school supplies have been purchased, labeled and stacked, and they’re ready to head to class. But is your new kindergartner really ready to head to school? In 2016, a Reddit user, identified as Lucas Hatcher by 'Today,' posted a photo of a kindergarten checklist on the website. He titled the thread, 'I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic).' >> Read more trending stories   It didn’t have simple kindergarten expectations like using the restroom by oneself and sitting still for a short period of time. Instead, it contained tasks like writing one's name, knowing 30-plus letters -- meaning upper and lower case -- counting to 10 or more and cutting correctly with scissors. Hatcher titled the photo, 'I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic).' Hatcher said he focused on the 30-plus letter requirement, since the alphabet has only 26 letters. But according to 'Today,' many people reacted to what they thought was the extreme nature of the requirements. 'Today' reported that, according to another Redditor, the school their son attends expected him to read fluently by the end of the year.  'Today' contacted Tom Arnold, the principal of Ooltewah Elementary School, the school that sent out the list posted by Hatcher. Arnold said the checklist, which also included a list of fees and supplies needed for the year, was sent to provide guidance so parents could get their children ready for school. Educational psychologist Michele Borba told 'Today' that Ooltewah's list is comparable to what is expected across the country because of competitive preschools that start teaching academics earlier than in decades past.
  • Preschool officials in Canada deemed a 3-year-old girl's sundress to be inappropriate, leaving parents disappointed and bewildered. >> Read more trending news  Sadie Stonehouse told CTV News that while the sundress goes down to her daughter Lola's ankles, officials said the shoulder straps were not wide enough. School policy requires straps to be at least two inches wide, CTV News reported.  Stonehouse said that in order for Lola to be able to wear the sundress to preschool again, school officials told her she'd have to wear a shirt underneath it. Stonehouse chose the dress for her daughter because of a heat wave the Winnipeg area was experiencing, so she said adding a layer defeats the purpose of wearing the outfit. The mother was at a loss of how she would explain to her young daughter why she couldn't wear the dress to preschool anymore, CTV News reported. An official at Little Years Nursery School told CTV News that the preschool follows the dress code of the area's school division, but a Pembina Trails School Division spokesperson said there is no official dress code. 
  • After enduring the loss of a loved one, a mother and daughter from Michigan are marking a happy milestone together. >> Read more trending news  Linda and Becky Dancer graduated together this month from Cleary University, WXYZ reported. For mother Linda, the degree was completed 42 years after she began her higher education. She was prompted to join her daughter in college after her husband, Dan, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014. Linda told WXYZ that she worked much harder to earn the degree now than she had when she first started four decades ago. Mother and daughter are proud of their individual and joint accomplishments. Linda hopes to increase her income and says a master’s degree may be in her future.
  • Looking to brighten their kids’ days, a group of parents at Mary Moore Elementary School in Arlington got together and painted uplifting messages in the school’s bathrooms, KENS5 reports.  >> Read more trending news  Colorful flowers and motivational sayings now decorate the bathroom stalls, saying things like “Your mistakes don’t define you” and “Every day is a chance to be better.”  >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  The school posted pictures of the parents’ work to Facebook.  The Facebook post has since been shared nearly 158,000 times and garnered nearly 6,000 comments. 
  • Law enforcement officials are scheduled to give an update of their investigation into a deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. The update is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday near the school in Parkland, Florida, an affluent town in northwest Broward County, about 15 miles from Boca Raton. >> LIVE UPDATES: Florida school shooting suspect charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder The suspected gunman, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, had been a student there recently “but was expelled from the school the previous year,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. Cruz was booked into the Broward County jail and is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder.  At 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, he was expected to make his first appearance before a judge later Thursday morning in Broward County court. >> Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero Police said Cruz concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school after the shooting. He was captured about 2 miles away near a swimming pool in the Wyndham Lakes community across the Sawgrass Expressway from the school. Individuals with information are encouraged to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit www.FBI.gov/ParklandShooting. >> PHOTOS: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida A day after 17 people lost their lives in a storm of bullets at a South Florida high school, police are still trying to piece together what happened.  The investigation of the high school massacre on Valentine’s Day stretches throughout the state, including one city in Palm Beach County.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Broward County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and FBI are investigating a mobile home south of Lantana Road and off Congress Avenue.  >> Read more trending news  Irving Beck, who lives in Lantana Cascade Mobile Home Park, said he got home around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and law enforcement was already at the scene.  He said authorities told him it was some kind of explosive at one of the residences.