Florida schools turn to metal detectors as kids bring guns

The big story: Some Florida schools are again heightening security amid rising threats of violence and weapons on campus.

Several are looking to protecting their perimeters. Best Kids Tablet

Florida schools turn to metal detectors as kids bring guns

Vero Beach High School in Indian River County has partnered with the Sheriff’s Office to place metal detectors at all its entrances, TC Palm reports. The school had been conducting checks at sporting events, but decided to expand the effort after a student brought a gun to school last week.

The Palm Beach County school district continues to add metal detectors at its high schools, too, with another four set to come on line within the next few weeks, WPTV reports. Police officials said they have found no weapons at the four schools already using the equipment.

But guns remain a serious concern among schools. A Broward County high school student was arrested Friday for bringing one to campus, WPTV reports.

Parents say they hope security goes beyond metal detectors. “Our kids should be the first priority. And we need to protect them with every resource that we have,” Vero Beach parent Kelly Stephens told WPEC.

Law enforcement also is looking at ways to improve their responses to school emergencies. In Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties, that means creating new school maps with aerial imaging to help first responders quickly navigate campuses, WEAR reports.

Book challenges: Some Polk County school district officials noted the district faces costs of $25,000 or more to review objections to books that are not required or assigned reading, Lakeland Now reports.

Ethics: Former Florida Virtual School attorney Frank Kruppenbacher faces censure after admitting to violating state ethics laws in his work for the school, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Funding: A new report shows Florida is among several states that devotes a smaller share of its economy to public education than it did 15 years ago, Florida News Connection reports.

Graduation: Broward County school district officials have yet to collect more than $300,000 from a former cap and gown supplier who overbilled the district, the Sun-Sentinel reports.

Homeschooling: Interest in homeschooling has grown in Volusia and Flagler counties as the resources have become more available. It continues to be an approach that works better for some students than others, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

School lunches: Manatee County students at selected schools now can get vegan options in their cafeterias, Your Observer reports.

Special education: Palm Beach County schools are finding some student special needs unmet as the district struggles to find enough aides and other paraprofessionals, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Student behavior: A tiny Hillsborough County elementary school that primarily serves homeless families is focusing its efforts on helping children deal with stress, NPR reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will take up HB 1135 on “lewd and lascivious grooming” when it meets at 11:30 a.m. • The Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee will consider SB 1120 on the display of flags at schools and other government buildings when it meets at 1:30 p.m.

University leadership: The chairperson of Florida Atlantic University’s board of trustees rejected the premise of the State University System’s censure of his actions, the Palm Beach Post reports. • Florida A&M University president Larry Robinson won a one-year extension to his contract, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Future plans: Florida Institute of Technology has launched a fundraising drive to support its long-range strategic plans, including more student housing, Florida Today reports.

From the court docket ... A federal judge heard arguments in the free speech case of Students for Justice in Palestine against the state university system, the News Service of Florida reports. • The University of Central Florida is asking a judge to overrule an arbitrator’s finding that it improperly fired a professor, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

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

Before you go ... The Black Keys are back with some infectious new music. Doesn’t this one make you want to get up and move?

The public is invited to a community conversation about the future of Florida public schools on Tuesday, Jan. 30, at the Tampa Theatre, hosted by the Tampa Bay Times. In the second installment of the Spotlight Tampa Bay series, Times journalists will moderate a discussion by experts, followed by a panel featuring students. Tickets are $20; $10 for students. Proceeds benefit the Times’ Journalism Fund. To purchase tickets, click here.

Jeffrey S. Solochek is an education reporter covering K-12 education policy and schools. Reach him at

Florida schools turn to metal detectors as kids bring guns

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