Department of Education Announces the Florida Schools Safety Portal
August 1, 2019
FDOE Press Office
Department of Education Announces the Florida Schools Safety Portal
~ Tool will aid in quickly providing students with intervention services ~
Tallahassee, Fla., August 1, 2019 – In response to Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 19-45, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) announced that it has met the deadline of August 1, 2019, to establish an integrated data repository and data analytic resource. In coordination with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FDOE was required to provide a centralized integrated data portal to improve the threat assessment teams’ access to timely information from a variety of data sources, including but not limited to those in § 1001.212(6), F.S. from the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions and Executive Order 19-45.
The new Florida Schools Safety Portal (FSSP) enacts the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Commission’s recommendation to improve access to timely, complete and accurate information by authorizing school threat assessment teams to swiftly identify, assess and provide intervention services for individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to themselves or others.
The FDOE developed the portal with the goal of improving school threat assessment teams’ access to information from a variety of sources, including the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, local law enforcement and social media. The FSSP will not be used to label students as potential threats, but rather is a tool to evaluate the seriousness of reported or identified threats and to assist in getting professional help when necessary.
“In February, I issued an executive order to ensure the safety of children in our schools and the Florida Schools Safety Portal is one of several steps my administration has taken to further this collaborative effort,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We must dedicate the attention and resources necessary to protect our students, teachers and school personnel. Access to timely, more accurate information will allow our law enforcement and threat assessment teams to respond and intercept possible threats, while also ensuring students in need of professional help get the necessary support.”
“Children, teachers and staff deserve to feel safe while they are at school,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “As the new school year begins, I am thankful we are identifying ways to intervene and get our kids meaningful help to hopefully prevent a tragic event.”
“School safety is our top priority and the Florida Department of Education is committed to protecting our students, staff and schools from harm,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “The Florida Schools Safety Portal will enable school threat assessment teams to keep children and district staff safe during their time on campus.”
“As the time for another school year approaches, the safety of students, along with that of all Florida citizens and visitors, remains a priority of FDLE,” said Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “We are committed to continue working with our partners to strengthen threat assessment capabilities and public awareness.”
“The Florida Schools Safety Portal allows us to work together to not only stop a potential threat from occurring but to also provide services to a young person in need,” said Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Simone Marstiller. “We will continue to work with our partners to improve school safety and provide students with a learning environment in which they feel supported and safe.”
“Inter-agency coordination and information sharing is vital in connecting Florida’s youth with the critical resources to intervene before a crisis,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell. “I applaud Governor DeSantis for his bold action to keep Florida’s schools safe and I look forward to continuing this important work with First Lady Casey DeSantis through the Hope for Healing behavioral health initiative.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a threat assessment team?
Florida law requires all schools to have a threat assessment team that includes individuals with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration and law enforcement. When formulating the law, the legislature recognized that threat assessment teams need information from many state and local agencies to best understand the needs of a particular individual.
What information will be accessible through the portal?
Only users already authorized to access criminal justice data will be able to access the information in the portal. Information that will be accessible through the portal includes:
- School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting and discipline information;
- FortifyFL information, an application that shows suspicious activity that has been reported;
- Social media monitoring data, which searches publicly available social media posts on a variety of sites for posts containing certain critical threat indicators;
- Baker Act admissions and reportable center data; and
- Law enforcement information; law enforcement officers will have access to law enforcement records through the Florida Criminal Justice Network.
Who has access to this data?
Strict data governance and security measures safeguard the protection of all confidential education, health and law enforcement records, and ensures compliance with all applicable state and federal privacy requirements in accordance with rules adopted by the respective source agencies.
Can the data be saved?
No, the data may only be viewed while using the portal; users are unable to download or share the information. The FSSP will not be used to label students as potential threats, but rather is a tool to evaluate the seriousness of reported or identified threats and to assist in getting professional help when necessary. The portal has internal and external controls to protect the information within the portal.
Highlights of the Florida Schools Safety Portal include:
- The Florida Schools Safety Portal provides real-time access to information to quickly avert a reported or identified threat;
- Only users already authorized to access criminal justice data will be able to access the information in the portal;
- Information is temporarily displayed to authorized users for only 30 minutes;
- Authorized users will not be able to download or store information;
- The portal does not store information about students’ race, religion, disability or sexual orientation;
- Access to data is governed by applicable state and federal privacy laws; and
- Threat assessment team members must undergo complete training and sign user agreements to obtain access to data.