A black conservative mom called a “token person” by a Florida school board member plans to take legal action, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Elizabeth Andersen, a Duval County School Board member, called Tia Bess, a black woman and member of Moms For Liberty, a group that advocates for parental rights in education, a “token person” when referring to how the group promotes Bess and her disabled son, according to a clip of the now-deleted April 2022 video. Bess and her attorney, Nicholas Whitney, sent an Aug. 14 letter to Andersen requesting an apology and now plan to sue Andersen, according to documents obtained by the DCNF.
The 2022-23 K-12 school year begins in less than two months and Florida school districts are facing teacher shortages.
As of this week, Duval County Public Schools reported 529 vacancies for certified teachers, up 23% — nearly 100 positions — compared to the start of last school year. This year’s vacancies are almost double the number Duval saw at the beginning of 2020-21 school year.
In addition, Orange County Public Schools lists over 200 K-12 teacher openings and Brevard County Public Schools lists 235 teacher vacancies.
And while the numbers are daunting they should not be surprising.
According to surveys by the Florida Education Association(FEA), the number of teacher vacancies have increased a 104% since August 2019. In August 2019, the FEA reported there were 2,135 advertised positions. This number increased to 2,962 in August 2020 and ballooned to 4,359 by January 2022.
Tommy Hazouri, Jacksonville native and Jacksonville City Council president who had served in multiple political positions over the last 47 years, died Saturday at the age of 76 from recent complications that traced back to a lung transplant he received last year.
Prior to his most recent position as a City Council member, Hazouri began his political career by spending 12 years in the Florida House of Representatives from 1974 to 1986. In 1987 he was elected as the first Arab-American mayor in Jacksonville history, where he would serve until 1991.