Florida

In 2018, the Police Foundation staff conducted a comprehensive public domain scan of state legislation from all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the following aspects of school safety and security:

  • facility security and assessment requirements;
  • creation, and identification of roles and responsibilities for state school safety centers and school safety teams/committees;
  • requirements for school administrators and faculty;
  • allocation of funds for improving school safety and security; and
  • all-hazards emergency planning and preparedness.

The Police Foundation also reviewed legislation and amendments passed by state legislatures and signed into law following the mass violence attacks at schools in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. Seven states—Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island—officially codified new significant school safety and security laws that address at least one of the aspects mentioned above. The legislative review utilized open source research, and encompasses all legislation that was officially codified by September 11, 2018.

The highlighted states on the map represent examples of states with comprehensive school safety legislation and promising practices.

 

PROMISING PRACTICES

  • Establishes the Office of Safe Schools within the Department of Education to serve as a central repository for best practices, training standards, and compliance oversight in all matters regarding school safety and security and emergency preparedness planning
  • Requires the Office of Safe Schools to establish and update a school security risk assessment tool, provide ongoing professional development opportunities to school district personnel, provide technical assistance and guidance on safety and security recommendations to address findings of the assessments, develop and implement a School Safety Specialist Training program, review and provide recommendations on security risk assessments, coordinate with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide a centralized data repository to improve communication and information-sharing, award grants to improve the safety and security of school buildings, and share resources and educational materials about the School Safety Awareness Program
  • Allows for sheriffs to establish a Coach Aaron Feis Guardian Program to allow for individuals who exclusively perform classroom duties as teachers to aid in the prevention or abatement of active assailant incidents on school premises. Also establishes requirements for persons appointed as school guardians, including having a valid license, completing 132 hours of training, pass a psychological evaluation, pass drug tests, and complete ongoing training
  • Expands threats and posts to conduct a mass shooting or an act of terrorism a second-degree felony
  • Establishes the School Safety Awareness Program, named “FortifyFL” within the Department of Legal Affairs to serve as a mobile suspicious activity reporting tool
  • Enhances the student crime watch program to include the improvement of school safety by allowing students and the community to anonymously relay information concerning unsafe and potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities or threats to appropriate school and public safety officials
  • Requires additional active shooter and hostage situation drills at least as often as other emergency drills and enhance emergency response policies to identify the persons responsible for contacting the primary emergency response agency
  • Requires school districts to establish model emergency management and preparedness procedures for active shooter situations and include active shooter training for each school that includes the participation of multiple school faculty, staff, and students as well as law enforcement
  • Requires every school district superintendent to designate a school safety specialist whose role includes conducting school security risk assessments at each public school in the district using the tool developed by the Office of Safe Schools. Also requires the specialist to provide recommendations and strategies to improve school safety and security and coordinate with the appropriate public safety agencies to conduct a tour of each school once every three (3) years
  • Requires each school district to establish a threat assessment team at each school
  • Requires the Office of Safe Schools to contract with a security consulting firm to develop the Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool (FSSAT) to be used by school officials to conduct security assessments at each school in the state. The firm must also provide training in the use of the FSSAT, advise in the development and implementation of resources necessary to facilitate the FSSAT
  • Provides funding for school hardening and for additional school safety officers
  • Requires policies and procedures for emergency drills and actual emergencies of all types. Also requires that the emergency response agency that is responsible for notifying the school district for each type of emergency must be listed in the school’s emergency response policy.
  • Requires emergency management and preparedness procedures—including notification—be established for four specific emergencies.
  • Requires the use of the Safety and Security Best Practices developed by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct of self-assessment of the district’s safety and security practices and the reporting of the results of the self-assessment at an open meeting to provide the public an opportunity to hear the results and take action on the findings.

State Of Florida

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