Florida changing how it assesses threats to school safety

Schools are preparing to carry out a "Florida model" of assessing threats to school safety, as new requirements are slated to come online in January. 

Members of the House Education Quality Subcommittee on Tuesday heard a presentation about requirements approved during the legislative session that ended in May. 

Florida schools currently use a national system called the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines but will switch to a new threat-management system. For example, threat-management teams will be at every school and at the district level. 

Schools’ threat-management teams must include a teacher, an administrator, a law-enforcement officer, and a mental health professional. Also, the new system will require that all school districts use the same statewide online system, which involves sharing information about threat management. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, told the House panel that 46 districts currently use 12 different software systems. 

"But today, there’s 21 districts that are on pen and paper. Including some large districts," Gualtieri said. Gualtieri said the consolidated online system represents "a really significant game-changer for sharing information and managing" threats. "It’s a huge undertaking, it’s been a year in the works. But it is going to make a difference," 

Gualtieri said of the overall changes coming online on January 1.