Duval Schools fall short in meeting class size

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County schools made progress this year, but once again fell short of complying with mandated class size limits.

According to a head count conducted in October and analyzed by the Florida Department of Education, nearly 900 Duval County students are impacted by overcrowding.

The Florida Department of Education reported in Duval 1,075 classrooms, out of 21,000, exceed the class limit size.

In Florida, voters approved a class size amendment which states a maximum of 18 kids per pre-k classroom through the third grade, 22 students per class in grades four through eight and 25 students in grades nine through 12.

Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says a year ago the district had 20% of classrooms out of compliance and now it is down to 5%. 

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Andrew Jackson student speaks about her attack

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shantricia, 18, was attacked by two men on her way to school, Andrew Jackson High Tuesday.

"My purse was wrapped around me, my phone was in my pocket," she said. "He asked me what was in my purse."

Shantricia said what happened next was scary. 

"Having a gun to your head is like is the worst feeling you can ever have because you don't know what's going to happen," she said.

The high school student was attacked at the intersection of 27th and Main streets, a block from the school.

"I caught chills, I didn't know what to do," said Shantricia.

She said they forced her into the back seat of a Chevrolet Impala and she began tussling with the person in the back seat.

"How am I going to get away," she said. "That's what I was thinking about."

Shantricia said she's a good student, A/B/C, who dreams of going into the military.

On Your Side: Family glad Andrew Jackson student is safe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.. -- It was a regular walk for a student going to Andrew Jackson High that quickly became a parents nightmare.

"When I got the phone call this morning my heart dropped into my chest," said Shantoni Campbell. "That's my baby and they put a gun to my child's head."

According to police when the 18 year old reached the intercession of 27th and Main streets she was attacked by two black males.

She was dragged into a Black Chevrolet Impala at point of a gun.

"They drove around for 15 to 20 minutes, the victim stated to police she was fighting the entire time," said JSO Melissa Bujeda.

Security cameras from a nearby business show a person that could be the victim at the intersection around 7:15am; the video doesn't reveal more.

New numbers show crime is down in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New numbers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is going down in Duval County.

The Uniform Crime Report looked at crime in the first 6 months of 2013, and compared to the first 6 months of 2012.

In Jacksonville, the report showed a 15 percent decrease in murders, and a little more than a 6 percent decrease in aggravated assaults. 

Overall, violent crimes are down 1 percent. The number of rape victims are up, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that's in part because of a re-classification.

Business owners in Jacksonville are hoping the general downward trend in crime could change the way some think about the city when it comes to crime.

"Every little bit helps," said Pat Middleton. He's been selling houses in Jacksonville for more than 30 years.

Middleton said his clients ask him about being safe in Jacksonville.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Man robbed, shot in Springfield overnight

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to an armed robbery that sent one to the hospital early Tuesday morning.

The victim was walking home from a grocery store when he was approached in the 100 block of East 8th Street by an armed suspect, according to JSO.

The suspect allegedly demanded money from the victim and then shot the victim twice. The victim was struck in his side and in his leg.

The suspect allegedly took the victims car keys and fled the scene.

Police are looking for a white 1998 Ford Mustang with Florida tag L751T.

The victim is currently in non-life-threatening condition at an area hospital and the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who has any information about this unknown robbery suspect is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.

To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

City council to vote on backyard chickens

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- People in Jacksonville might soon be able to legally keep chickens in their backyard.

City council members are expected to vote Tuesday evening on a proposed pilot program.

A number of people within city limits already keep chickens cooped in their backyard.

And while it is against the city's current zoning code for residential areas, chicken owners tell First Coast News that the code is rarely enforced.

Genora Crain-Orth is a member of Hens in Jax, a pro-backyard chicken group that's been advocating for the pilot program.

She said a lot of times neighbors will look the other way if they know someone with chickens in a backyard coop.

"They'll have a really good understanding in some cases," Crain-Orth said.

But under the proposed program, people would no longer have to keep their chickens a secret.

If approved, 300 Jacksonville families would have to pass an agriculture class and buy a $25 permit.

Backyard chicken pilot program in the works

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's been years in the making, soon urban chicken enthusiasts may be able to keep hens in their backyards.

A new proposed law has already cleared one hurdle, being passed by the land use and zoning committee. Next up is the city council.

After being cited back in 2011, Lauren Trad was forced to get rid of the hens she kept in her backyard. For the past three years, the Jacksonville mother has made it her personal mission to be able to fill back up her coop.

At her family garden center on San Jose Boulevard, Trad is allowed to keep her hens because they were grand-fathered in. But at home where she would like to be closer to her feathered friends, it's currently banned.

"I just don't think we should be introducing farm animals into residential neighborhoods," said Councilman Robin Lumb.