Bully prevention was on the minds of President Barack Obama and the First Lady today, as they addressed the problem during a conference. President Obama says children shouldn’t have to accept bullying as an inevitable part of growing up. Susan Garcia is the Coordinator for Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support, or PALS in Alachua County Schools. She says the president’s conference should promote discussion about the issue. Garcia says bullying isn’t necessarily a bigger problem, but it has changed form in some ways. Garcia adds sometimes people who witness bullying feel helpless. She says any student that feels like they’re being bullied can see PALS for help. About 150 students, parents and teachers met at the White House to discuss their experiences with bullying as well as what schools and communities are doing to stop it.
The resignation of former Alachua County Schools Superintendent Owen Roberts last month has raised the long-standing discussion over the pros and cons of appointing versus electing a school district's chief executive officer. The Alachua County School Board voted to accept Roberts' resignation June 21. Roberts, who was appointed to his position in 2014, was the only school superintendent in North Central Florida not elected by county voters. Of the 11 counties in the area, 10 have elected superintendents. Forty-one of the state’s 67 counties elect their respective superintendent of schools.