The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School


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Nicknames, TikTok, AP Psychology, and phones – what’s Florida’s next target?

Gary Smith

As of this summer, Florida’s continued its recent trend of banning more and more things to do with school and academics. The latest bans target nicknames, the AP Psychology course, cell phone and laptop usage in schools, and the ban of TikTok for anything school related. 

First off, if you prefer to be called a nickname, be ready for a new permission form for you and your parents to sign. To be called a preferred nickname that’s anything other than the name listed on your birth certificate by any teacher or staff member is now prohibited, unless the student’s parents file official approval to the school. This bill has been in effect since August 22nd. 

Another recent ban was that of the AP Psychology course. While it wasn’t an outright ban, there were several complications, and it still remains to be seen what will become of the course. Florida recently passed a new bill prohibiting the teaching of AP Psychology—specifically regarding gender identity or sexual orientation in the curriculum. Schools are free to teach AP Psychology, just without these topics. However, the American Psychology Association decided to tell the colleges not to accept college courses for it.

At our very own AV High School, the AP Psychology teacher, Dr. Viau, commented on the proceedings. “I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to teach the class at all. But a few days later, the word came down…” Fortunately, the College Board in charge of the class had decided to respond to the new ban with a statement of their own. They said that teaching gender identity and sexual orientation was necessary, saying in their response that they were “essential, longstanding, and foundational topics in the study of psychology.” Quickly backtracking, the Board of Education insisted the class could still be taught “in a manner that is age and developmentally appropriate” in its entirety. They claimed the class wasn’t banned, but didn’t respond to any questions regarding the teaching of gender identity or sexual orientation related subjects in the course. Fortunately, there haven’t been too many complications with the course. “Because we’re allowed to teach the class in its entirety, there aren’t really any changes to the course at all,” said Dr. Viau. “If there were changes, then the college board would not accredit the class and they wouldn’t allow people to test and get credit for passing the exam.” However, Dr. Viau has a unique take on the ban. “I suspect that if students were aware of the controversy and about AP Psychology, that, if anything, it might’ve made them more curious about the class, and not less – but that’s just a suspicion on my part.”

Yet another bill already in effect concerns the bans on phone and social media use during school hours. House Bill 379 prohibits use of wireless devices capable of connecting to the internet, such as cell phones or laptops, during any class time. However, the bill makes an exception for “teachers and other instructional personnel to designate an area for wireless communications during instructional time”, limiting cell phone usage to only when it’s necessary for the lesson. The aims of the bill are a bit blurry as to what’s allowed, so only time will tell how this affects students. 

A clearer part of the bill is the ban on certain social media platforms at school, namely TikTok. Not only does it restrict access for students, it prohibits the use of TikTok for any school organizations like clubs or official school accounts. The bill is intended to help students’ mental health by eliminating the platform, which many officials believe is harmful. The subject of mental health is furthered as the bill goes on to require schools to give lectures on Internet safety. Students already are feeling the effects, with TikTok being the newest addition to the list of IP bans, or programs or sites blocked on school devices or Wi-Fi. This causes a lot of trouble for school clubs or organizations who rely on TikTok to promote themselves, like AV’s very own TikTok for the Chat. However, it’s hopeful that clubs and student organizations will find new ways to promote themselves outside of TikTok. 

These changes will certainly all affect the way school goes for students, but the determining factor for how the changes play in is the way students adapt to them.

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About the Contributor
Finn Phelps Crossman, Staff Writer
Hi! I’m Finn, a writer here at The CHAT. I’m currently a freshman, and it’s my first year as a member of the newspaper here. When I’m not in school, you could probably find me writing cyberpunk stories, playing video games with my friends, or watching entirely too much Star Wars. If needed, you can contact me at [email protected]

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    MadelineOct 2, 2023 at 12:26 PM

    I hate these new rules, I feel like there is no point for them. Having your parents sign to be called a nickname seems ridiculous. This article was very informative and taught me more than I knew before about banned things at our schools.