I see the need for sensitivity and civility training

HB 741 should provide for funding and require that sensitivity and civility classes be taught in all schools. If you don’t have a solution, why pass a bill?

Video of the March 21st Florida House of Representatives Education Committee meeting:
https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/VideoPlayer.aspx?eventID=2443575804_2019031312

Below are some comments made by legislators at the meeting discussing HB 741 that indicate we need civility and sensitivity courses taught in all the schools.  Around the 2 hour 6 minute mark in the video, Representative Fine answers a question with words similar to this:

“I don’t know the answer. The bill doesn’t regulate how the issue will be addressed in the schools.”

Later in the meeting, Representative Massullo mentions that discrimination is partly caused by ignorance. Representative Valdes says that she wishes we could change hearts. Representative Daniels mentioned Messianic Judaism.  Keep in mind that this bill is trying to address the problem that Representative Fine describes as a growing fever of antisemitism. Shouldn’t Representative Daniels’ remarks regarding Messianic Judaism indicate another example as to why we need classes in sensitivity? I know many people were outraged when Vice President Pence invited a Messianic Jewish Rabbi to give a prayer after the killings at the synagogue. Here is one quote from this article:

https://religionnews.com/2018/10/31/jewish-groups-decry-messianic-jewish-rabbis-prayer-at-pence-rally

The Jewish groups argued that allowing the rabbi, whom they don’t recognize as Jewish, to offer a prayer for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting sowed religious division at a time when Americans should be standing with Jews.
A statement from the Rabbinical Assembly, a Conservative Jewish group and one of several to object, declared that “so-called ‘Messianic Judaism’ is not a Jewish movement.

In addition to requiring classes in sensitivity, I also wish they’d include the wording of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) in the bill. Any mention of religious protection should offer a shield against religious bigotry not a sword to attack others.

I do not understand the problem or know the solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  I know that some people (including Representative Fine) see the need for this to be included in HB 741:

(b) Examples of anti-Semitism related to Israel include: Delegitimizing Israel by denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and denying Israel the right to exist.

In addition to antisemitism, I wish Islamophobia and anti-atheism were specifically mentioned in the bill. There are examples of anti-atheism in this country and the world.  Here is how lines 51 to 54 of HB 741 reads now:

A public K-20 educational institution must treat discrimination by students or employees or resulting from institutional policies based on anti-Semitism in an identical manner to discrimination based on race.

There are many groups worried about legislation before our Florida Congress trying to expand taxpayer money to fund unregulated charter and private schools. As it stands now, this bill won’t cover those schools. In my view and in the view of many others, this is a BIG problem. IF religious bigotry is a problem and we’re trying to solve it, then a bill should not only apply to the neighborhood schools, it should also apply to any school receiving local, state, or federal taxpayer money.

Only 24% of the registered voters voted

Only 24% of the registered voters voted in the election — in Duval County –that ended March 19th.  Why so few?

Is it because news sources aren’t giving us enough information so that we’re uncomfortable voting?  Here is a funny skit about that:

Or is it because people feel the majority always wins so why bother?  If that is the reason then would proportional representation help? 
Quote from https://www.fairvote.org/how_proportional_representation_elections_work :

Proportional representation systems have the goal of ensuring that more voters receive some representation. Various systems have different ways of achieving these goals.

Why not elect the 5 city council at large seats via a proportional representation system? For example, what about the following? 

1.  10 candidates –with the most votes– win the unitary election for the at-large city council seats
2.  Those 10 candidates run in the general election.  The 5 candidates with the most votes would then serve as at-large city council representatives.

In the election that ended March 19, the starred ones (in the below list) got the most votes in each individual election race and (even though some face run offs) will probably be our at-large representatives. How do you think it would change if we got proportional representation ?

Gary Barrett (REP),  Connell A. Crooms (NPA), Jack Daniels (REP), Terrance Freeman (REP), **Lisa King (DEM), **Darren Mason (DEM), Ron Salem (REP), **Tommy Hazouri (DEM), James C. Jacobs (DEM), Greg Rachal (REP), **Matt Carlucci (REP), Harold McCart (REP), Don Redman (REP), Niki Brunson (NPA), Chad Evan McIntyre (DEM), **Samuel Newby (REP).

I like the simple system that I stated above.  I think single transferable vote is too complicated and doesn’t lend itself to easy auditing or recounts.
Quote from this  LINK to the wikipedia page about STV:
The single transferable vote (STV) is a voting system designed to achieve proportional representation through ranked voting in multi-seat organizations voting districts.

I went to a Socrates Cafe on March 20th and we discussed voting.  The participants didn’t convince me that ranked voting for a single position made sense. This link   https://www.fairvote.org/how_proportional_representation_elections_work offers a lot of options but they seem too complicated to me and I don’t see how they’ll solve the problem if there is still only ONE person to be chosen.

Home Rule

I am VERY worried about all the preemption laws in the current state legislature.

Miami Beach saw problems with earlier preemption laws when it tried to raise its minimum wage. Cities across the state are trying to close the gun show loophole to keep guns away from people unable to pass background checks but city council members and commissioners are fearing the consequence of another older preemption law.

Cities across the state are trying to find ways to pay for the maintenance of the public buildings (libraries, neighborhood schools, etc) so as to enhance the beauty of our communities. What impact will SB 144 have on the cities’ ability to fund projects to deal with ever growing populations?

How do we stop the preemption laws in the current legislative session? I urge people to see if their legislator is voting yes on these laws aiming to take away home rule. Know what your legislator is doing BEFORE you re-elect him/her.

Quote from an article I found at the Florida League of Cities website written by Karson Turner/ Florida Association of Counties (FAC) President and a Hendry County Commissioner:

“Proposed House Bills (HB) 3 and 5 are a reckless assault on towns and taxpayers. Tallahassee politicians don’t just want to take away a town’s right to set its own laws, they also want to reserve the right to erase laws a town has already written”.

Quote from ​article titled ​”​Legislature reaches too far down, again​” in the Daily Commercial by the The Ledger (Lakeland)​ Posted Mar 15, 2019​:

“Lawmakers this year are pursuing a number of “preemption” bills whereby state legislators are wanting to decide how Florida counties and cities will govern themselves.​ People in Polk County, for example, may disagree with bans on plastic straws or local mandates on hiring practices for certain minority groups. But that doesn’t mean Miami, Fort Myers or Orlando should be blocked from enacting such rules if they want them.”

Quote from the Florida league of cities .com /advocacy/legislative-bill-summaries:

CS/CS/HB 3 was amended but the definitions included in the bill are still quite broad.

Our state legislature needs to pass laws to protect our water and air. Some might consider those preemption laws. However if one city pollutes the water supply, then that will affect the other cities. The Florida League of Cities opposed SB 1716 (Bracy) and HB 157 but the 1000 Friends of Florida supports it.

Please advocate to allow cities to pass their own minimum wage laws, their own protections for their vulnerable citizens, their own decision to ban plastic straws, and laws requiring more restrictions (than what the state decides) aimed at reducing gun violence.

Links:
http://www.1000friendsofflorida.org/2019-florida-legislative-session/

https://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/advocacy/legislative-bill-summaries

 

How do we reduce hate?

No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry. HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal financial assistance.

HB 741 adds religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes.

Please tell the sponsors of the bill to quit imposing regulations on public schools when they aren’t willing to apply the same rules to other schools receiving taxpayer money. IF the bill is a good one, then it should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer assistance. IF it isn’t a good rule, then why should it be imposed on the public schools?

Some people call others “snowflakes” when the so-called snowflake asks people not to use racial slurs or religiously bigoted terms. The legislature is considering a bill (SB 1410) that will give voucher money to anyone claiming to have been bullied. But what happens to the bully and the other kids left in the school with the bully? We need to teach kids NOT to bully whether in the public, charter or private schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.

HB 741 should allocate funding to teach civility and sensitivity so kids learn not to bully and not to be insensitive to others.

I know some viewed the Convington Catholic private school boys in DC and perhaps even the Kavanaugh hearings differently than I did. BUT what I saw was several insensitive white boys. They need civility and sensitivity training as much as anyone in the public school. Did you see the part of the video where the boys *pulled* one of the two black kids to the front of the crowd to show the Black Hebrew Israelites that they had people of color in their group? Did you see the video where the one catholic private school boy said “it’s not rape if you enjoy it”? I am not saying this to condemn them. I have said stupid insensitive stuff in my life also. What I am saying is that we ALL need civility and sensitivity training.

I think it is a good idea to add religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes. However, I think HB 741 should be amended in the following ways before it continues to the various committees in Florida’s Congress:

1. HB 741 (and 1000.05 of the Florida statutes) should apply to any school receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.

2. If it is going to point out antisemitism then it should also mention Islamophobia and anti-atheism and perhaps other minority religious groups that have felt the brunt of religious bigotry.

3. It should include funding and requirements that civility and sensitivity classes be taught in all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. The class must be taught by someone certified in sensitivity training.

4. The bill should have pro-active prevention and course correction ideas MORE than punishment.

5. None of the language in HB 741 should imply that one can’t make valid criticisms of a religion. The goal should NOT be to curtail freedom of speech in such a way that valid criticisms can’t be expressed in a civil and productive manner. The spirit of the Do No Harm Act (H.R. 1450) should also be included because we don’t want freedom of religion to be used as a sword to harm others.

6. Where possible the language of what religious bigotry means should be worded in broader terms. For example re-word lines 51 to 77 of the original version of HB 741 to read

(7) A K-20 educational institution that has received local, state or federal financial assistance must treat religious discrimination by students or employees in an identical manner to discrimination based on race. For purposes of this section, the term religious discrimination includes expressions of hatred toward the religious minority, rhetorical and physical manifestations of that bigotry directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward the community institutions or religious facilities.

(a) Examples of religious bigotry include:

1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion.

2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion.

3. Accusing a group of similar people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single person from that group.

4. Denying the Holocaust. Perhaps the narrative could be specific as to exactly what happened during the Holocaust.

5. Accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

The focus of the bill should be to reduce and maybe eliminate bullying and religiously bigoted language. All school children should learn that religious bigotry isn’t polite. The idea is to address hatred based on religion, yes? With the recent shootings at the synagogue and the mosque, we continue to wonder what we can do to prevent these tragedies. Can we teach people not to hate? Shouldn’t we try? Discrimination against atheists is also part of religious bigotry.

It shouldn’t be about punishment. It should be about course correction. That is why it is vital that the bill provide funding for a required course which will teach sensitivity and civility. The course should be required to be taught every year in any school receiving local, state or federal assistance. The teacher of the civility course should be certified in the field of civility and their salaries should be paid from the state treasury.

1000.05 and bill HB 741 should cover charter schools and private schools that receive voucher money.   HB 741 will add “religion” to the list in 1000.05 (2)(a). This is how 1000.05(2)(a) reads now:

1000.05 (2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.

Sponsors and co-sponsors of HB 741:

Representatives Fine, Caruso, Donalds, Fischer, Killebrew, LaMarca and Roach

Link to bill: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/00741
Amendment to HB 741 was proposed and adopted on March 21st in the Education Committee.  It removed lines 95-99 and inserted:

(c) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to diminish or infringe upon any right protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, or the State Constitution. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to conflict with federal or state discrimination laws.

Please tell the committee members to vote no on SB 7070

You can send this email in a minute or two! 
We need YOU!
Here is the link to SB 7070:  https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2019/07070

Quotes from this ARTICLE:

Does the state have so much money that it can fully fund our public education system, meet our other needs and then throw some money at those wanting to send their children to private schools using tax dollars? The answer is no. … Why would legislators, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, think the new program could pass constitutional scrutiny with tax dollars going directly to religious, private or for-profit schools? Perhaps it’s because the governor replaced three state Supreme Court justices who reached the mandatory retirement age. His conservative nominees are likely to view vouchers and separation of church and state differently than the more moderate or liberal justices they replaced.

Quotes from this ARTICLE:
[This might be the ONLY good part of the bill]:

SPB 7070 TRAIN: Enhance Support for Community Wrap-Around Services – Senate Priorities The legislation will also stabilize state support of neighborhood public schools with unique community needs.  Leveraging the successful leadership of the Center for Community Schools, legislation will promote the expansion of, and encourage funding for, new Community Schools. Additionally, the legislation will secure Florida’s investment in the success of public schools in, or exiting, district-managed turnaround status through sustained support for wrap-around services such as after-school programs, extended school day or school year, counseling, or other support services.

SB 7070 passed one committee on March 6.  HERE is the list of how the committee members voted. Lauren Book, Anitere Flores, and Jason Pizzo weren’t on the committee  that voted March 6th but they are on the committee voting March 19th,

Suggested email:
To: diaz.manny@flsenate.gov, baxley.dennis@flsenate.gov, book.lauren@flsenate.gov, flores.anitere@flsenate.gov, montford.bill@flsenate.gov, pizzo.jason@flsenate.gov, simmons.david@flsenate.gov, stargel.kelli@flsenate.gov
Subject: Please vote no on SB 7070
Dear Members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education,

Please vote no on SB 7070 when it reaches the committee on March 19th. 

I have many questions. One of my questions is about lines 455 and 456:

(d) Any student participating in the program must remain in
  455  attendance throughout the school year unless excused by the
  456  school for illness or other good cause.

Here are my questions about that section.  If the student doesn’t stay in the private school all year, will a public school be required to enroll the student? Will the public school be given the funds that would have been allocated to it if the student had originally enrolled in the public rather than the private school? Does the private school have to give the tuition back to the state?

One part of the bill I do like (and I hope you’ll include it in another bill after you vote NO on SB 7070) is the part that will increase funding for Community Schools.  It is lines 630 to 725:

Section 4. Part VII of chapter 1003, Florida Statutes,
  631  consisting of s. 1003.64, Florida Statutes, is created and
  632  entitled “Public School Innovation.”
  633         1003.64Community School Grant Program.—It is the intent of
  634  the Legislature to improve student success and well-being by
  635  engaging and supporting parents and community organizations in
  636  their efforts to positively impact student learning and
  637  development.
  638         (1) PURPOSE.—The Community School Grant Program is
  639  established within the Department of Education to fund and
  640  support the planning and implementation of community school
  641  programs, subject to legislative appropriation.
  642         (2) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
  643         (a)“Center for Community Schools” means the center
  644  established within the University of Central Florida.
  645         (b) “Community organization” means a nonprofit organization
  646  that has been in existence for at least 3 years and serves
  647  individuals within the county in which a community school is
  648  located.
  649         (3) COMMUNITY SCHOOL.—
  650         (a) A community school is a public school that receives a
  651  grant under this section and partners with a community
  652  organization, a university or college, and a health care
  653  provider to implement programs beyond the standard hours of
  654  instruction which may include, but are not limited to, student
  655  enrichment activities such as job training, internship
  656  opportunities, and career counseling services; wellness
  657  services; and family engagement programs.
  658         (b) Each community school must designate a person of its
  659  choosing as the community school program director. A community
  660  school program director shall coordinate with the partners
  661  specified under paragraph (a) to:
  662         1. Facilitate the implementation of a community school
  663  program.
  664         2. Comply with the reporting requirements under paragraph
  665  (5)(a).
  666         (4) CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SCHOOLS.—The Center for Community
  667  Schools is established within the University of Central Florida.
  668  A center director shall head the Center for Community Schools.
  669  At a minimum, the center director shall:
  670         (a) Disseminate information about community schools to
  671  community organizations; district school boards; state
  672  universities and Florida College System institutions; and
  673  independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities located
  674  and chartered in this state which are accredited by the
  675  Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges
  676  and Schools and are eligible to participate in the William L.
  677  Boyd, IV, Effective Access to Student Education Grant Program.
  678         (b) Coordinate, facilitate, and oversee the implementation
  679  of community schools that receive a grant under this section,
  680  and submit an annual report to the commissioner pursuant to
  681  paragraph (5)(b).
  682         (c)Publish on the center’s website the application form
  683  for:
  684         1. Implementing a community school program.
  685         2. Certification by the center as a community school.
  686         (d)Publish on the center’s website the process and
  687  criteria for:
  688         1. Approving the application for implementing a community
  689  school program under subparagraph (c)1.
  690         2. Awarding the certification under subparagraph (c)2.
  691         (e) Establish a process to administer grant funds awarded
  692  under this section.
  693         (f)Promote best practices and provide technical assistance
  694  about community schools to community school program directors.
  695         (5) REPORTS.—
  696         (a) By July 1 of each year, each community school program
  697  director shall submit to the center a report that includes, at a
  698  minimum, the following information:
  699         1. An assessment of the effectiveness of the community
  700  school program in improving student success outcomes;
  701         2.Any issues encountered in the design and execution of
  702  the community school program;
  703         3. Recommendations for improving the delivery of services
  704  to students, families, and community members under the program;
  705         4.The number of students, families, and community members
  706  served under the program; and
  707         5. Any other information requested by the center director.
  708         (b) The center director shall review the reports submitted
  709  under paragraph (a) and, by August 15 of each year, shall
  710  provide to the commissioner:
  711         1. A summary of the information reported by each community
  712  school that receives a grant under this section; and
  713         2. Recommendations for policy and funding investments to
  714  improve the implementation and oversight of community school
  715  programs and to remove any barriers to the expansion of
  716  community schools.
  717         (c) The commissioner shall review the summary and
  718  recommendations submitted by the center director under paragraph
  719  (b) and, by September 30 of each year, shall submit a report to
  720  the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  721  the House of Representatives. The annual report submitted by the
  722  commissioner must, at a minimum, include information on the
  723  status of community schools and his or her recommendations for
  724  policy and funding investments to improve and expand community
  725  schools.

Rather than ​increasing the funding for ​vouchers to subsidize private tuition, please use the public money to fund more Community schools. The majority of Florida students attend the free neighborhood and magnet schools. Let’s make those schools great! IF parents choose to send their kids to private schools, then please let them seek scholarships from private donors if they can’t afford the tuition.

If you’re going to continue to give tax credits to various corporations and individuals, then the recipient should be any 501(c)(3) that is doing charitable work that is believed to save the state government money.  I hope you’ll consider making the credit only 30% of the donation.  The current $ for $ credit means the corporation is NOT making a donation.  They are simply giving their tax dollars to Step Up For Students.  They haven’t actually made a donation, i.e. they just funneled the tax payment to Step Up For Students.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal tax money. No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

Sponsors and co-sponsors of HB 741:

Representatives Fine, Caruso, Donalds, Fischer, Killebrew, LaMarca and Roach

HB 741 adds religion to the list in 1000.05 of the Florida statutes.

Please offer feedback if  there is something that I’m missing.

Jason Fischer is one of the sponsors of HB 741 and he is my representative. I feel passionate that I need to tell him he needs to quit imposing regulations on public schools that he isn’t going to apply to other schools receiving taxpayer money. IF the bill is a good one, then it should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer assistance. IF it isn’t a good one, then why should it be imposed on the public school? I also wish all the schools receiving local, state and federal financial assistance would teach sensitivity training. It seems absurd to me that SB 1410 wants to give a voucher to someone that claims to have been bullied BUT makes no recommendation for the bully or the other kids left in the school with the bully.

I have been thinking and asking people about HB 741. The sponsors I know about are BIG proponents of charters and vouchers. I fear this bill is just another regulation to harm public schools. IF their goal was to decrease discrimination then it seems to me the bill should apply to all schools receiving taxpayer money.

I know some viewed the Catholic private school boys in DC and perhaps even the Kavanaugh hearings differently than I did. BUT what I saw was several insensitive white boys. They need civility and sensitivity training as much as anyone in the public school. Did you see the part of the video where the boys *pulled* one of the two black kids to the front of the crowd to show the Black Hebrew Israelites that they had blacks in their group? Did you see the video where the one catholic private school boy said “it’s not rape if you like it”? I am not saying this to condemn them. I have said stupid insensitive stuff in my life also. What I am saying is that we ALL need civility and sensitivity training.

That said, I still want to write the sponsors of HB 741 to express my desire that this bill should be fixed in this way.  I encourage you to write the sponsors also. See list at top.

Unless I hear feedback soon, this is what I am sending to my rep who is one of the sponsors:

Honorable Representative Jason Fischer,

Since you’re one of the co-sponsors of HB 741, I am asking you to please amend HB 741 so it applies to all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.  No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

1. HB 741 (and 1000.05 of the Florida statutes) should apply to any school receiving local, state or federal financial assistance.
2. If it is going to point out antisemitism then it should also mention Islamophobia and anti-atheism and perhaps other minority religious groups that have felt the brunt of religious bigotry.
3. It should include funding and requirements that civility and sensitivity classes be taught in all schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance. The class must be taught by someone certified in sensitivity training.
4. The bill should have pro-active prevention and course correction ideas MORE than punishment. Punishment should ONLY be after course correction techniques have been employed.
5. None of the language in HB 741 should be interpreted to imply that one can’t make valid criticisms of a religion.  The goal should NOT be to curtail freedom of speech in such a way that valid criticisms can’t be expressed in a civil and productive manner
6. Where possible the language of what religious bigotry means should be worded in broader terms. For example re-word lines 51 to 77 of HB 741 to read

(7) A K-20 educational institution that has received local, state or federal financial assistance must treat religious discrimination by students or employees in an identical manner to discrimination based on race. For purposes of this section, the term religious discrimination includes expressions of hatred toward the religious minority, rhetorical and physical manifestations of that bigotry directed toward a person, his or her property, or toward the community institutions or religious facilities.
(a) Examples of religious bigotry include:
1. Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of a group of people based on their religion.
2. Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about a group of people based on their religion.
3. Accusing a group of similar people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single person from that group.
4. Denying the Holocaust. Perhaps the narrative could be specific as to exactly what happened during the Holocaust.
5. Accusing a citizen of being more loyal to another country just because another person of similar ethnicity or religion has demonstrated that proclivity.

IF this is a good bill then it needs to apply to all schools that receive taxpayer money.  I worry that the legislature is burdening the neighborhood and magnet schools with excess regulations.   IF you truly feel this is worthwhile legislation then it needs to apply to all schools that receive local, state and federal financial assistance.

The focus of the bill should be to reduce and maybe eliminate bullying and religiously bigoted language.  All school children should learn that religious bigotry isn’t polite.  The idea is to address hatred based on religion, yes?  With the recent shootings at the synagogue and the mosque, we continue to wonder what we can do to prevent these tragedies.  Can we teach people not to hate?  Shouldn’t we try?  

Some people call others “snowflakes” when the so-called snowflake asks people not to use racial slurs or religiously bigoted terms. The legislature is considering a bill (SB 1410) that will give voucher money to anyone claiming to have been bullied.  But what happens to the bully and the other kids left in the school?  We need to teach kids NOT to bully whether in the public, charter or private schools receiving voucher money.

In addition to making this bill apply to ALL schools receiving local, state or federal financial assistance, please also allocate funding to teach civility and sensitivity so kids learn not to bully and not to be insensitive to others.

It shouldn’t be about punishment. It should be about course correction. Please provide funding for a required course which will teach sensitivity and civility.  The course should be required to be taught every year in any school receiving local, state or federal assistance.  The teacher of the civility course should be certified in the field of civility and their salaries should be paid from the state treasury.

Also please change the summary (and related parts of the bill) from

A bill to be entitled: An act relating to anti-Semitism; amending s. 1000.05; prohibiting discrimination in the Florida K-20 4 public education system based on religion; requiring a public K-20 educational institution to take into consideration anti-Semitism under certain instances of discrimination

to

A bill to be entitled:​ An act relating to ​the prevention of bullying​; amending s. 1000.05; ​​prohibiting discrimination based on religion in Florida K-​​20 schools that receive local, state or federal financial assistance

HB 741 should apply to all schools receiving local, state and federal tax money. No tax money should be going to schools tolerating religious bigotry.

As part of HB 741  please change 1000.05 to be clearer. Delete the word “public” so that it reads:

conducted by an educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state or local financial assistance

Change “in the state system of public K-20 education”
to

“while in an educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state or local financial assistance”

Then 1000.05 and your bill HB 741 would be sure to also cover charter schools and private schools that receive voucher money.  HB 741 will add “religion” to the list in 1000.05 (2)(a).  This is how it reads now before you add the word religion and hopefully make it cover all schools receiving tax money:

1000.05 (2)(a) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status against a student or an employee in the state system of public K-20 education is prohibited. No person in this state shall, on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, or marital status, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any public K-20 education program or activity, or in any employment conditions or practices, conducted by a public educational institution that receives or benefits from federal or state financial assistance.

SB 7030

Indivisible-Mandarin met with Senator Bean on February 28, 2019 in Senator’s Bean’s Fernandina office.   Richard and Nancy wrote the one page summary and spoke asking Senator Bean to please vote NO on SB 7030.  Richard and Nancy had many reasons why we should NOT be arming teachers.  Link to Richard and Nancy’s summary: Indivisible-Mandarin met with our representative for our district

My position (as well as everyone in our group) is that we do NOT want teachers and other school personnel carrying guns into schools.   My view IF we’re going to lose that battle, then (as Senator Bean said) it should only be an option if the teacher wants to do it and will undergo extensive training.

BUT please don’t just give funds to schools that agree to arm teachers.   Give the funds for school safety equally per pupil.  I am specifically addressing this part of the SB 7030:

Any additional funds appropriated to this allocation

772  in the 2018-2019 fiscal year must to the school resource officer

773  program established pursuant to s. 1006.12 shall be used

774  exclusively for employing or contracting for safe-school

775  resource officers

Schools should have flexibility in deciding how they think their school can best use the money to be safe. There is research available that prevention is a better path.

Quote from below link:

 “School shootings are rare events that mobilize people to take action. Our research suggests it is time to focus on prevention and mental well-being.”

https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242

Indivisible-Mandarin met with our representative for our district

This is the first time I have ever met with a representative at their office.  I was so happy I was with this great group of people!

Indivisible-Mandarin meeting with Aaron Bean

Forward from Indivisible-Mandarin:

Summary of the 2/28/2019 meeting with Senator Aaron Bean written by Richard and Nancy

We met with Sen. Bean at his office in the old Town Hall on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.

The meeting started at 10:00 am; we expected to have only ten minutes with Sen. Bean, but his next meeting canceled so he gave us a full half hour of his time. Ken Organes started the meeting by explaining that Indivisible Mandarin was a “progressive” non-partisan group consisting of a range of nearly 400 voters–Democrats, Republicans and Independents. He explained that we canvassed, handed out vote by mail forms, made phone calls, registered voters and before the midterm, urged voters to go to the polls. Sen. Bean seemed to get hung up on the term “progressive,” which he admitted connoted “Democrat” to him. He visibly relaxed when he realized we weren’t there to “yell at him.” Ken introduced each of us and we said a word or two about our background. After Ken’s introduction, he passed on the packets containing our one-page bills. The friendly mood was established when Ken told Sen. Bean that we found we could support his bill S 258 Genetic Information Used for Insurance Purposes. He explained why he had introduced this bill and answered a few questions. Ken also established that we had done our homework when he noted that Sen. Bean had received multiple awards from child advocacy groups and had identified on his Senate webpage biography that “family” was his primary interest outside the job.

Having established that we were willing to agree with some of his legislative acts, Sen. Bean now seemed more open to listen to us as we introduced some bills that we expected he would not be willing to entertain. Richard introduced HB 7030 and praised those parts of the bill that proposed funding guidelines for “hardening schools.” But he stated firmly we felt we had to oppose the part of the bill describing how teachers and school personnel would receive training to act as “guardians” in schools. Sen. Bean jumped in at this point and stated that he felt this part of the bill was necessary to securing the safety of students and that the teachers who voluntarily offered to serve as school guardians would receive four months of training in using a weapon (that number does not appear in the bill; it only refers to annual training). Richard outlined our concerns calmly and without heat: that teachers’ and the majority of the public are not in favor of this part of the bill; that teachers are professional educators and are not trained as law enforcement; that we need trained law enforcement who know how to use weapons and engage an active shooter; that these trained guardians must do their duty and not hide outside of the building as they did at Parkland (he agreed with this). We all made comments in support of Richard’s line of reasoning. Susan raised the issue that a few months of training a year is insufficient to enable people (teachers or school personnel) who have no previous experience killing people to aim and kill an armed assailant; that the school districts would be asking teachers to lay their lives on the line. Susan continued to press the issue about whether the extent of gun training is sufficient for training guardians but also those with concealed weapons permits. Senator Bean and Susan went back and forth on this issue and she indicated to him that she would follow through on the discussion through contact with him. Sen. Bean seemed impressed that we had done our homework and stated our positions clearly and passionately. He said that he would consider what we said and re-read the bill carefully.

We still had time for Larry to express his concern that not enough was being done to protect the environment in Florida, although he was pleased to see that Gov. DeSantis has seemed to support anti-fracking legislation. He also raised the problem of climate change especially the rise of sea levels, which threaten our coastal areas and low-lying cities. We also raised the algae problems that occurred this past summer and continues to be a threat to Florida’s tourist industry. Sen. Bean talked knowledgeably and enthusiastically about measures to secure the beaches of Florida against red tide. And he had interesting things to say about legislation that is being prepared to legislate the use of septic tanks because the source of pollution in the water systems (he mentioned Okeechobee) seems to indicate the presence of contaminants “not found in nature” (Viagra, for example) which could only be the result of effluent leaking from septic tanks into the aquifer.

Susan followed by raising the issue of SB 330 on the proposed replacement of “common core” curriculum in schools to one that supports “controversial theories and concepts” which we interpreted as promoting non-scientific approaches to evolution, climate change, etc. (e.g. creationism). Senator Bean just listened to us as we discussed the virtues of believing in science.

We debriefed after the meeting. Our general consensus was that we made some progress towards weakening Sen. Bean’s hold on the stereotype that Indivisibles were aggressive loudmouths. We were courteous and well-prepared. Sen. Bean seemed to enjoy the conversation and offered to meet us in Mandarin the next time we asked for a meeting with him, so we wouldn’t have to drive so far. We recognized that he is deeply conservative and that we had only a few points of connection where we could agree with him. But he opened the door for us to come back and speak with him or his staff. Richard discussed the prospect of his appearance before the entire IM community at one of our monthly meetings. Sen. Bean seemed amenable to this but asked if people would “yell at him” during the meeting and we assured him that we generally don’t yell at anyone and try to have reasonable discussions in order to find our commonalities with those who have different political views from us. He posed for a photo with us and gave us coffee cups before we left. We left Fernandina Beach satisfied with our first encounter with Sen. Bean. Our group did a commendable job of presenting our views to him and doing so in such a way that he would be willing to listen to us further. At this point, we couldn’t expect more from our first encounter with him.

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Levine

Richard Sutphen

Please write postcards opposing SB 1410, SB 330, SB 7030, SB 1028 and supporting SB 584

Link to UU Justice speadsheet of bills they are following

Table of a couple of bills that specifically have the result of cutting funding for neighborhood and magnet schools when there is a limited education budget:

NUMBER TITLE Purpose
SB 1410 Hope Scholarship Program Takes money from neighborhood and magnet schools and sends the funding to private schools instead of funding programs to combat bullying. Please oppose

https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/03/02/please-ask-your-florida-senator-to-oppose-sb-1410/

SB 330 Educational Standards for K-12 Public Schools Allows a backdoor for the possibility of requiring  the teaching of nonscientific principles to be taught in science class. Please oppose.

https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/02/24/please-tell-the-members-on-the-committees-to-oppose-sb-330/

SB 7030 School Safety and Security Directs funding to arm teachers and school personnel rather than allowing each school the flexibility on how to spend state money to make their schools safe. Please oppose.

“School shootings are rare events that mobilize people to take action. Our research suggests it is time to focus on prevention and mental well-being.” Quote from this link:

https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242

SB 1028 School Funding SB 1028 will take money local voters approved for their neighborhood and magnet school facilities and divert it to privately owned charter schools. Please oppose.
http://lwveducation.com/unfair-school-funding-bill-filed/
SB 584 Charter Schools This is a step in the right direction trying to stop the financial abuses of taxpayer money by privately owned private charters.  Please Support.
https://uniteusdonotdivideus.com/2019/02/26/please-ask-your-rep-to-support-sb-584/

 

post card suggestions

Please ask your Florida Senator to oppose SB 1410

The problem with SB 1410 is not the problem of substantiation.  The problem with SB 1410 is this:  It funnels taxpayer money away from neighborhood and magnet schools and towards private schools.

Link to what Sue Legg says about the bill:
https://lwveducation.com/new-voucher-bully-bill-filed/

If the #metoo movement is teaching us anything, then it should be teaching us to believe victims.  Making it harder for a victim to get help is NOT helpful.  It isn’t helpful to the victim.  It isn’t even helpful to the harasser because that person has missed an opportunity to find a way to make a course correction in their habits.  And it is certainly NOT helpful to society.   Society has condoned awful behavior for far too long. My comments are a reaction to people that say things such as this:

Pasco district officials say a substantiated allegation is part of the definition of bullying. So they have put forth a policy recommendation that would offer the voucher only “upon conclusion of the investigation and a finding that the student was subjected to any of the incidents” listed in the law creating the program.

That’s a quote from article at this link:  https://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2019/02/26/pasco-schools-want-to-verify-bullying-claims-before-offering-state-scholarship/

I don’t have the answer to bullying.  BUT I certainly don’t think the solution is to offer a voucher to be used to reduce private tuition.  That solution MIGHT possibly help one victim.  But what about the bully?  What about the future potential victims?

It seems odd to me that some that support people like Trump call us snowflakes when we advocate for people to be nice.  BUT now DeSantis and other Florida GOP legislators want to give vouchers to people that say they are bullied. Are those people snowflakes according to DeSantis and the other GOP legislators?

I am glad that the GOP sees that bullying is a problem. I think we do have a culture of bullying. And I think we should work to change it. BUT this bill SB 1410 is NOT the way to change that culture. What we need is more social workers and mental health counselors that can attempt to change the culture of bullying.

Part of the solution is teaching kids ways to respond to teasing, to not take things personally AND to teach kids NOT to bully others.

There are a number of bills in the Florida Congress that are trying to solve various problems by robbing the neighborhood and magnet schools of funding.  Please let us urge them to STOP doing that.   We need social workers,  mental health counselors, tutors and teacher’s aids.  We need to beautify the buildings and grounds so our neighborhoods will be proud of their neighborhood schools. Please stop the legislators from robbing our neighborhood schools of funding.

This article points out problems with SB 7030 which aims to arm teachers:
https://theconversation.com/school-shooters-usually-show-these-signs-of-distress-long-before-they-open-fire-our-database-shows-111242
Quote from article:

Instead, our data show that threats of school violence should be seen as a plea for help. These threats are a critical moment for a student to be connected with high-quality resources, such as mental health treatment, social services or substance use treatment.

SB 7030 is another drain on the funding of education.  Arming teachers is NOT a good solution as that Conversation.com article points out.  SB 1410 is not a good solution for school bullying.  The answer to safety is high-quality resources, such as mental health treatment, social services or substance use treatment.