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PRESS RELEASE

September 10, 2003

Frances Marine
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Horne Announces New K-20 Education Safety Partnership

TAMPA — Education Commissioner Jim Horne today announced a new K-20 Education Safety Partnership. The Partnership will serve as a K-20 education safety resource to the Florida Domestic Security Oversight Board and will consist of members representing K-12 public schools, community colleges, universities, law enforcement, and first responders, such as fire departments and emergency medical providers.

"Since taking office in 1999, Governor Bush has made school safety a top priority and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that Florida's students are safe," said Commissioner Horne. "We continue to face the traditional issues of student safety, but have the added concern of terrorism and bio-terrorism."

In the wake of September 11, 2001, strengthening domestic security in Florida's schools, college and university campuses has been a concern of education and public safety leaders. The new K-20 Education Safety Partnership will evaluate current K-20 school and campus safety legislation and recommend to Commissioner Horne appropriate additions or revisions. In addition, the partnership will:

  • Review and recommend revisions, as needed, to the Florida Best Practices for Safety and Security (Office of Program Policy and Government Accountability);
  • Communicate to stakeholders K-20 safety and security best practices;
  • Provide information on the current state of safety and security programs on public school, college, and university campuses;
  • Create a K-20 electronic clearinghouse of safety and security information that includes best practices, model programs, and other safe schools information for the public, parents, students, and education personnel;
  • Serve in a key networking capacity to the Commissioner on K-20 safety and security issues, including domestic security; and
  • Foster coordination among school districts, schools, colleges, universities, law enforcement personnel, emergency responders, and other local and state agencies.

Each year, the Partnership will submit a report to Commissioner Horne including recommendations of appropriate legislation and regulations regarding school and campus safety, information on the current state of safety and security programs across the educational system, a status of the K-20 safety and security electronic clearinghouse, and a summary of revisions to the Florida Best Practices for Safety and Security.

A website will be established by September 24, 2003 at www.k20safetypartnership.org to provide information to the public on safety and security in Florida's schools, colleges and universities.