Teacher Whistleblower Suit; ABLE United; Kinne Legacy Celebration; WGW

May 19, 2021

High School teacher Amy Donofrio was suspended  from her job at Robert E. Lee high school when she refused to take down her Black Lives Matter flag. Donofrio is now claiming that the school has discriminatory practices, and took issue with her support towards her Black students. 

Donofrio, who is being represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Florida Inspector General this week. Amidst the complaint against DCPS, Florida Education Department Commissioner Richard Corcoran gave a speech at Hillsdale College - a conservative institution - where he claimed that Donofrio had been terminated, despite her being assigned to paid non-teaching duties in a DCPS warehouse. 

Children’s Rights Practice Group Senior Staff Attorney Evian White De Leon with the Southern Poverty Law Center, called in to discuss all this in more detail. 

ABLE United

A group of parents of children with disabilities teamed up to start ABLE United, the goal of which is to allow people with disabilities to live independent lives, and have financial security. ABLE United is a disability savings program that provides investment accounts, and tax-advantaged savings to Floridians with disabilities. 

ABLE United Director John Finch and Jenn Sikora, an ambassador and advocate for tABLE United joined us to discuss the program. 

Honoring Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne 

Jacksonville University will be holding a legacy celebration for the late Frances Bartlett Kinne

Kinne was a trailblazer who, after being hired for a one-month teaching position at Jacksonville University, ended up staying there for 62 years. She was the first female president of a university in the state of Florida, and served a 10-year term as Jacksonville University’s president from 1979-1989. 

Kinne passed away at the age of 102. Jacksonville University will be honoring her life and legacy on May 23 with a memorial service, and the unveiling of a statue that will be dedicated to her. 

JU President Tim Cost, and  Tim Snyder, the Dean of the Linda Berry Stein College of Fine Arts, joined us to discuss her legacy and the event. 

Insurance

In the midst of insurance rates rising, Florida has changed the way that it handles insurance claims.

Ron Kuruvilla, the owner of insurance agency We Insure Jacksonville, joined us to discuss the changes. 

What’s Good Wednesdays

  •  Leadership Jacksonville is honoring six “Unsung Covid Leaders'' who have had a positive effect on the community. They will be holding a virtual ceremony on May 25th to celebrate.
  • The Nature Conservancy in Florida has received a $3 million donation from lifelong Jacksonville residents Joseph and Renate Hixon. The donation will help in the conservancy’s efforts to protect Florida’s environment and vulnerable ecosystems.  
  • The Professional Bull Riders Association is coming to the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Forty of the world's top bull riders will be competing right here in Jacksonville on May 22 and 23. 
  • The Wolfson's Children's Bass Tournament took place over the weekend. The event raised $425,783 which far exceeded it’s $400,000 goal. 

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Mackenzie Guiry can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org