Florida Senate - 2015                              CS for SB 530
       By the Committee on Fiscal Policy; and Senator Ring
       594-04423-15                                           2015530c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to school district policy; amending s.
    3         1001.41, F.S.; requiring district school boards to
    4         adopt a strategic plan; amending s. 1001.42, F.S.;
    5         revising provisions relating to standards of ethical
    6         conduct to apply to administrative personnel and
    7         school officers; requiring a school to monitor and
    8         evaluate its instructional practices and intervention
    9         strategies relating to the early warning system;
   10         amending s. 1006.147, F.S.; requiring school districts
   11         to review and revise their bullying and harassment
   12         policy at specified intervals; specifying that a
   13         school district policy requires a school to implement
   14         the policy in a certain manner and integrate it with
   15         the school’s bullying prevention and intervention
   16         program; requiring such a policy to include mandatory
   17         reporting procedures and a list of authorized programs
   18         that provide bullying and harassment identification,
   19         prevention, and response instruction; requiring each
   20         school district to maintain an online portal
   21         accessible by a student’s parent to anonymously report
   22         incidents of bullying or harassment; requiring a
   23         student’s school to investigate reported incidents;
   24         deleting provisions relating to safe schools funds and
   25         data reporting requirements; amending s. 1006.283,
   26         F.S.; requiring school districts to notify parents of
   27         their ability to access homework assignments through a
   28         local instructional improvement system; providing an
   29         effective date.
   31  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   33         Section 1. Subsection (8) is added to section 1001.41,
   34  Florida Statutes, to read:
   35         1001.41 General powers of district school board.—The
   36  district school board, after considering recommendations
   37  submitted by the district school superintendent, shall exercise
   38  the following general powers:
   39         (8) Adopt a strategic plan consistent with the school
   40  board’s mission and long-term goals.
   41         Section 2. Subsection (6) and paragraphs (a) and (b) of
   42  subsection (18) of section 1001.42, Florida Statutes, are
   43  amended to read:
   44         1001.42 Powers and duties of district school board.—The
   45  district school board, acting as a board, shall exercise all
   46  powers and perform all duties listed below:
   49  ADMINISTRATORS.—Adopt policies establishing standards of ethical
   50  conduct for instructional personnel, administrative personnel,
   51  and school officers administrators. The policies must require
   52  all instructional personnel, administrative personnel, and
   53  school officers administrators, as defined in s. 1012.01, to
   54  complete training on the standards; establish the duty of
   55  instructional personnel, administrative personnel, and school
   56  officers administrators to report, and procedures for reporting,
   57  alleged misconduct by other instructional or administrative
   58  personnel and school officers school administrators which
   59  affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student; and include
   60  an explanation of the liability protections provided under ss.
   61  39.203 and 768.095. A district school board, or any of its
   62  employees, may not enter into a confidentiality agreement
   63  regarding terminated or dismissed instructional or
   64  administrative personnel or school officers administrators, or
   65  instructional or administrative personnel or school officers
   66  administrators who resign in lieu of termination, based in whole
   67  or in part on misconduct that affects the health, safety, or
   68  welfare of a student, and may not provide instructional or
   69  administrative personnel or school officers administrators with
   70  employment references or discuss the instructional or
   71  administrative personnel’s or school officers’ administrators’
   72  performance with prospective employers in another educational
   73  setting, without disclosing the instructional or administrative
   74  personnel’s or school officers’ administrators’ misconduct. Any
   75  part of an agreement or contract that has the purpose or effect
   76  of concealing misconduct by instructional or administrative
   77  personnel or school officers administrators which affects the
   78  health, safety, or welfare of a student is void, is contrary to
   79  public policy, and may not be enforced.
   81  Maintain a system of school improvement and education
   82  accountability as provided by statute and State Board of
   83  Education rule. This system of school improvement and education
   84  accountability shall be consistent with, and implemented
   85  through, the district’s continuing system of planning and
   86  budgeting required by this section and ss. 1008.385, 1010.01,
   87  and 1011.01. This system of school improvement and education
   88  accountability shall comply with the provisions of ss. 1008.33,
   89  1008.34, 1008.345, and 1008.385 and include the following:
   90         (a) School improvement plans.—
   91         1. The district school board shall annually approve and
   92  require implementation of a new, amended, or continuation school
   93  improvement plan for each school in the district. If a school
   94  has a significant gap in achievement on statewide, standardized
   95  assessments administered pursuant to s. 1008.22 by one or more
   96  student subgroups, as defined in the federal Elementary and
   97  Secondary Education Act (ESEA), 20 U.S.C. s.
   98  6311(b)(2)(C)(v)(II); has not significantly increased the
   99  percentage of students passing statewide, standardized
  100  assessments; has not significantly increased the percentage of
  101  students demonstrating Learning Gains, as defined in s. 1008.34
  102  and as calculated under s. 1008.34(3)(b), who passed statewide,
  103  standardized assessments; or has significantly lower graduation
  104  rates for a subgroup when compared to the state’s graduation
  105  rate, that school’s improvement plan shall include strategies
  106  for improving these results. The state board shall adopt rules
  107  establishing thresholds and for determining compliance with this
  108  subparagraph.
  109         2. A school that includes any of grades 6, 7, or 8 shall
  110  include annually in its school improvement plan information and
  111  data on the school’s early warning system required under
  112  paragraph (b), including a list of the early warning indicators
  113  used in the system, the number of students identified by the
  114  system as exhibiting two or more early warning indicators, the
  115  number of students by grade level that exhibit each early
  116  warning indicator, and a description of all intervention
  117  strategies employed by the school to improve the academic
  118  performance of students identified by the early warning system.
  119  In addition, a school that includes any of grades 6, 7, or 8
  120  shall describe in its school improvement plan the strategies
  121  used by the school to implement and evaluate the instructional
  122  practices for middle grades emphasized by the district’s
  123  professional development system pursuant to s. 1012.98(4)(b)9.
  124         (b) Early warning system.—
  125         1. A school that includes any of grades 6, 7, or 8 shall
  126  implement an early warning system to identify students in grades
  127  6, 7, and 8 who need additional support to improve academic
  128  performance and stay engaged in school. The early warning system
  129  must include the following early warning indicators:
  130         a. Attendance below 90 percent, regardless of whether
  131  absence is excused or a result of out-of-school suspension.
  132         b. One or more suspensions, whether in school or out of
  133  school.
  134         c. Course failure in English Language Arts or mathematics.
  135         d. A Level 1 score on the statewide, standardized
  136  assessments in English Language Arts or mathematics.
  138  A school district may identify additional early warning
  139  indicators for use in a school’s early warning system.
  140         2. A school-based team responsible for implementing the
  141  requirements of this paragraph shall monitor the data from the
  142  early warning system in subparagraph (a)2. When a student
  143  exhibits two or more early warning indicators, the team must the
  144  school’s child study team under s. 1003.02 or a school-based
  145  team formed for the purpose of implementing the requirements of
  146  this paragraph shall convene to determine appropriate
  147  intervention strategies for the student unless the student is
  148  already being served by an intervention program. The school
  149  shall provide at least 10 days’ written notice of the meeting to
  150  the student’s parent, indicating the meeting’s purpose, time,
  151  and location, and provide the parent the opportunity to
  152  participate. Data and information relating to the indicators
  153  must be used to inform any intervention strategies provided to a
  154  student identified under this paragraph.
  155         Section 3. Subsections (4) through (9) of section 1006.147,
  156  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  157         1006.147 Bullying and harassment prohibited.—
  158         (4) Each school district shall adopt, review, and revise at
  159  least every 3 years a policy prohibiting bullying and harassment
  160  of a student or employee of a public K-12 educational
  161  institution. Each school district’s policy shall be in
  162  substantial conformity with the Department of Education’s model
  163  policy. The school district bullying and harassment policy shall
  164  afford all students the same protection regardless of their
  165  status under the law. The school district may establish separate
  166  discrimination policies that include categories of students. The
  167  school district shall involve students, parents, teachers,
  168  administrators, school staff, school volunteers, community
  169  representatives, and local law enforcement agencies in the
  170  process of adopting, reviewing, and revising the policy. The
  171  school district policy must be implemented by each school
  172  principal in a manner that is ongoing throughout the school year
  173  and integrated with the a school’s curriculum, bullying
  174  prevention and intervention program, a school’s discipline
  175  policies, and other violence prevention efforts. The school
  176  district policy must contain, at a minimum, the following
  177  components:
  178         (a) A statement prohibiting bullying and harassment.
  179         (b) A definition of bullying and a definition of harassment
  180  that include the definitions listed in this section.
  181         (c) A description of the type of behavior expected from
  182  each student and employee of a public K-12 educational
  183  institution.
  184         (d) The consequences for a student or employee of a public
  185  K-12 educational institution who commits an act of bullying or
  186  harassment.
  187         (e) The consequences for a student or employee of a public
  188  K-12 educational institution who is found to have wrongfully and
  189  intentionally accused another of an act of bullying or
  190  harassment.
  191         (f) A procedure for receiving mandatory reports of
  192  reporting an alleged act of bullying or harassment, including
  193  provisions that permit a person to anonymously report such an
  194  act. However, this paragraph does not permit formal disciplinary
  195  action to be based solely on an anonymous report.
  196         (g) A procedure for the prompt investigation of a report of
  197  bullying or harassment and the persons responsible for the
  198  investigation. The investigation of a reported act of bullying
  199  or harassment is deemed to be a school-related activity and
  200  begins with a report of such an act. Incidents that require a
  201  reasonable investigation when reported to appropriate school
  202  authorities shall include alleged incidents of bullying or
  203  harassment allegedly committed against a child while the child
  204  is en route to school aboard a school bus or at a school bus
  205  stop.
  206         (h) A process to investigate whether a reported act of
  207  bullying or harassment is within the scope of the district
  208  school system and, if not, a process for referral of such an act
  209  to the appropriate jurisdiction. Computers without web-filtering
  210  software or computers with web-filtering software that is
  211  disabled shall be used when complaints of cyberbullying are
  212  investigated.
  213         (i) A procedure for providing immediate notification to the
  214  parents of a victim of bullying or harassment and the parents of
  215  the perpetrator of an act of bullying or harassment, as well as
  216  notification to all local agencies where criminal charges may be
  217  pursued against the perpetrator.
  218         (j) A procedure to refer victims and perpetrators of
  219  bullying or harassment for counseling.
  220         (k) A procedure for including incidents of bullying or
  221  harassment in the school’s report of data concerning school
  222  safety and discipline required under s. 1006.09(6). The report
  223  must include each incident of bullying or harassment and the
  224  resulting consequences, including discipline and referrals. The
  225  report must include in a separate section each alleged reported
  226  incident of bullying or harassment that does not meet the
  227  criteria of a prohibited act under this section with
  228  recommendations regarding such incidents. The Department of
  229  Education shall aggregate information contained in the reports.
  230         (l) A list of programs authorized by the school district
  231  which provide procedure for providing instruction to students,
  232  parents, teachers, school administrators, counseling staff, and
  233  school volunteers on identifying, preventing, and responding to
  234  bullying or harassment, including instruction on recognizing
  235  behaviors that lead to bullying and harassment and taking
  236  appropriate preventive action based on those observations.
  237         (m) A procedure for regularly reporting to a victim’s
  238  parents the actions taken to protect the victim.
  239         (n) A procedure for publicizing the policy, which must
  240  include its publication in the code of student conduct required
  241  under s. 1006.07(2) and in all employee handbooks.
  242         (o) A procedure for investigating anonymous reports of
  243  bullying or harassment made by parents through the school
  244  district’s online portal maintained pursuant to subsection (5).
  245         (5) Each school district shall maintain an online portal
  246  accessible by a student’s parent for the purpose of anonymously
  247  reporting alleged incidents of bullying or harassment. The
  248  parent is not required to leave his or her name and contact
  249  information, but may do so if he or she chooses. The student’s
  250  school shall investigate the reported incident and, if the
  251  parent’s name and contact information are included, notify the
  252  parent regarding the progress of the investigation.
  253         (6)(5) A school employee, school volunteer, student, or
  254  parent who promptly reports in good faith an act of bullying or
  255  harassment to the appropriate school official designated in the
  256  school district’s policy and who makes this report in compliance
  257  with the procedures set forth in the policy is immune from a
  258  cause of action for damages arising out of the reporting itself
  259  or any failure to remedy the reported incident.
  260         (7)(6)(a) The physical location or time of access of a
  261  computer-related incident cannot be raised as a defense in any
  262  disciplinary action initiated under this section.
  263         (b) This section does not apply to any person who uses data
  264  or computer software that is accessed through a computer,
  265  computer system, or computer network when acting within the
  266  scope of his or her lawful employment or investigating a
  267  violation of this section in accordance with school district
  268  policy.
  269         (7) Distribution of safe schools funds provided to a school
  270  district shall be contingent upon and payable to the school
  271  district upon the school district’s compliance with all
  272  reporting procedures contained in this section.
  273         (8) On or before January 1 of each year, the Commissioner
  274  of Education shall report to the Governor, the President of the
  275  Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on the
  276  implementation of this section. The report shall include data
  277  collected pursuant to paragraph (4)(k).
  278         (8)(9) Nothing in this section shall be construed to
  279  abridge the rights of students or school employees that are
  280  protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the
  281  United States.
  282         Section 4. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
  283  1006.283, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  284         1006.283 District school board instructional materials
  285  review process.—
  286         (2)
  287         (b) District school board rules must also:
  288         1. Identify, by subject area, a review cycle for
  289  instructional materials.
  290         2. Specify the qualifications for an instructional
  291  materials reviewer and the process for selecting reviewers; list
  292  a reviewer’s duties and responsibilities, including compliance
  293  with the requirements of s. 1006.31; and provide that all
  294  instructional materials recommended by a reviewer be accompanied
  295  by the reviewer’s statement that the materials align with the
  296  state standards pursuant to s. 1003.41 and the requirements of
  297  s. 1006.31.
  298         3. State the requirements for an affidavit to be made by
  299  each district instructional materials reviewer which
  300  substantially meet the requirements of s. 1006.30.
  301         4. Comply with s. 1006.32, relating to prohibited acts.
  302         5. Establish a process that certifies the accuracy of
  303  instructional materials.
  304         6. Incorporate applicable requirements of s. 1006.31, which
  305  relates to the duties of instructional materials reviewers.
  306         7. Incorporate applicable requirements of s. 1006.38,
  307  relating to the duties, responsibilities, and requirements of
  308  publishers of instructional materials.
  309         8. Establish the process by which instructional materials
  310  are adopted by the district school board, which must include:
  311         a. A process to allow student editions of recommended
  312  instructional materials to be accessed and viewed online by the
  313  public at least 20 calendar days before the school board hearing
  314  and public meeting as specified in this subparagraph. This
  315  process must include reasonable safeguards against the
  316  unauthorized use, reproduction, and distribution of
  317  instructional materials considered for adoption.
  318         b. An open, noticed school board hearing to receive public
  319  comment on the recommended instructional materials.
  320         c. An open, noticed public meeting to approve an annual
  321  instructional materials plan to identify any instructional
  322  materials that will be purchased through the district school
  323  board instructional materials review process pursuant to this
  324  section. This public meeting must be held on a different date
  325  than the school board hearing.
  326         d. Notice requirements for the school board hearing and the
  327  public meeting that must specifically state which instructional
  328  materials are being reviewed and the manner in which the
  329  instructional materials can be accessed for public review.
  330         9. Establish the process by which the district school board
  331  shall receive public comment on, and review, the recommended
  332  instructional materials.
  333         10. Establish the process by which instructional materials
  334  will be purchased, including advertising, bidding, and
  335  purchasing requirements.
  336         11. Establish the process by which the school district will
  337  notify parents of their ability to access their children’s
  338  instructional materials and homework assignments through the
  339  district’s local instructional improvement system and by which
  340  the school district will encourage parents to access the system.
  341  This notification must be displayed prominently on the school
  342  district’s website and provided annually in written format to
  343  all parents of enrolled students.
  344         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.