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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XLVIII
EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1001
EARLY LEARNING-20 GOVERNANCE
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F.S. 1001.212
1001.212 Office of Safe Schools.There is created in the Department of Education the Office of Safe Schools. The office is fully accountable to the Commissioner of Education. The office shall serve as a central repository for best practices, training standards, and compliance oversight in all matters regarding school safety and security, including prevention efforts, intervention efforts, and emergency preparedness planning. The office shall:
(1) Establish and update as necessary a school security risk assessment tool for use by school districts pursuant to s. 1006.07(6). The office shall make the security risk assessment tool available for use by charter schools. The office shall provide annual training to appropriate school district and charter school personnel on the proper assessment of physical site security and completion of the school security risk assessment tool.
(2) Provide ongoing professional development opportunities to school district and charter school personnel.
(3) Provide a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach to providing technical assistance and guidance to school districts on safety and security and recommendations to address findings identified pursuant to s. 1006.07(6).
(4) Develop and implement a School Safety Specialist Training Program for school safety specialists appointed pursuant to s. 1006.07(6). The office shall develop the training program which shall be based on national and state best practices on school safety and security and must include active shooter training. The office shall develop training modules in traditional or online formats. A school safety specialist certificate of completion shall be awarded to a school safety specialist who satisfactorily completes the training required by rules of the office.
(5) Review and provide recommendations on the security risk assessments. The department may contract with security personnel, consulting engineers, architects, or other safety and security experts the department deems necessary for safety and security consultant services.
(6) Coordinate with the Department of Law Enforcement to provide a unified search tool, known as the Florida School Safety Portal, to improve access to timely, complete, and accurate information from, at a minimum, the following data sources:
(a) Social media Internet posts;
(b) The Department of Children and Families;
(c) The Department of Law Enforcement;
(d) The Department of Juvenile Justice;
(e) The mobile suspicious activity reporting tool known as FortifyFL;
(f) School environmental safety incident reports collected under subsection (8); and
(g) Local law enforcement.

Data that is exempt or confidential and exempt from public records requirements retains its exempt or confidential and exempt status when incorporated into the centralized integrated data repository. To maintain the confidentiality requirements attached to the information provided to the centralized integrated data repository by the various state and local agencies, data governance and security shall ensure compliance with all applicable state and federal data privacy requirements through the use of user authorization and role-based security, data anonymization and aggregation and auditing capabilities. To maintain the confidentiality requirements attached to the information provided to the centralized integrated data repository by the various state and local agencies, each source agency providing data to the repository shall be the sole custodian of the data for the purpose of any request for inspection or copies thereof under chapter 119. The department shall only allow access to data from the source agencies in accordance with rules adopted by the respective source agencies and the requirements of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Criminal Justice Information Services security policy, where applicable.

(7) Provide data to support the evaluation of mental health services pursuant to s. 1004.44. Such data must include, for each school, the number of involuntary examinations as defined in s. 394.455 which are initiated at the school, on school transportation, or at a school-sponsored activity and the number of children for whom an examination is initiated.
(8) Provide technical assistance to school districts and charter school governing boards for school environmental safety incident reporting as required under s. 1006.07(9). The office shall collect data through school environmental safety incident reports on incidents involving any person which occur on school premises, on school transportation, and at off-campus, school-sponsored events. The office shall review and evaluate school district reports to ensure compliance with reporting requirements. Upon notification by the department that a superintendent has failed to comply with the requirements of s. 1006.07(9), the district school board shall withhold further payment of his or her salary as authorized under s. 1001.42(13)(b) and impose other appropriate sanctions that the commissioner or state board by law may impose.
(9) Award grants to schools to improve the safety and security of school buildings based upon recommendations of the security risk assessment developed pursuant to subsection (1).
(10) Disseminate, in consultation with the Department of Law Enforcement, to participating schools awareness and education materials on the proper use of the School Safety Awareness Program developed pursuant to s. 943.082, including the consequences of knowingly submitting false information.
(11)(a) Convene a School Hardening and Harm Mitigation Workgroup composed of individuals with subject matter expertise on school campus hardening best practices. The workgroup shall meet as necessary to review school hardening and harm mitigation policies, including, but not limited to, the target hardening practices implemented in other states; the school safety guidelines developed by organizations such as the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools; the tiered approach to target campus hardening strategies identified in the initial report submitted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission pursuant to s. 943.687(9); and the Florida Building Code for educational facilities construction to determine whether the building code may need to be modified to strengthen school safety and security. Based on this review of school safety best practices, by August 1, 2020, the workgroup shall submit a report to the executive director of the office which includes, at a minimum, a prioritized list for the implementation of school campus hardening and harm mitigation strategies and the estimated costs of and timeframes for implementation of the strategies by school districts and charter schools. The estimated costs must include regional and statewide projections of the implementation costs.
(b) Submit to the commissioner:
1. The workgroup’s report pursuant to paragraph (a); and
2. Recommendations regarding procedures for the office to use to monitor and enforce compliance by the school districts and charter schools in the implementation of the workgroup’s recommended campus hardening and harm mitigation strategies.

This subsection is repealed June 30, 2023.

1(12) Develop a statewide behavioral threat management operational process, a Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument, and a threat management portal.
(a)1. By December 1, 2023, the office shall develop a statewide behavioral threat management operational process to guide school districts, schools, charter school governing boards, and charter schools through the threat management process. The process must be designed to identify, assess, manage, and monitor potential and real threats to schools. This process must include, but is not limited to:
a. The establishment and duties of threat management teams.
b. Defining behavioral risks and threats.
c. The use of the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument developed pursuant to paragraph (b) to evaluate the behavior of students who may pose a threat to the school, school staff, or other students and to coordinate intervention and services for such students.
d. Upon the availability of the threat management portal developed pursuant to paragraph (c), the use, authorized user criteria, and access specifications of the portal.
e. Procedures for the implementation of interventions, school support, and community services.
f. Guidelines for appropriate law enforcement intervention.
g. Procedures for risk management.
h. Procedures for disciplinary actions.
i. Mechanisms for continued monitoring of potential and real threats.
j. Procedures for referrals to mental health services identified by the school district or charter school governing board pursuant to s. 1012.584(4).
k. Procedures and requirements necessary for the creation of a threat assessment report, all corresponding documentation, and any other information required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument under paragraph (b).
2. Upon availability, each school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school must use the statewide behavioral threat management operational process.
3. The office shall provide training to all school districts, schools, charter school governing boards, and charter schools on the statewide behavioral threat management operational process.
4. The office shall coordinate the ongoing development, implementation, and operation of the statewide behavioral threat management operational process.
(b)1. By August 1, 2023, the office shall develop a Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument for school districts, schools, charter school governing boards, and charter schools to use to evaluate the behavior of students who may pose a threat to the school, school staff, or students and to coordinate intervention and services for such students. The Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument must include, but is not limited to:
a. An assessment of the threat, which includes an assessment of the student, family, and school and social dynamics.
b. An evaluation to determine whether a threat exists and if so, the type of threat.
c. The response to a threat, which includes the school response, the role of law enforcement agencies in the response, and the response by mental health providers.
d. Ongoing monitoring to assess implementation of threat management and safety strategies.
e. Ongoing monitoring to evaluate interventions and support provided to the students.
f. A standardized threat assessment report, which must include, but need not be limited to, all documentation associated with the evaluation, intervention, management, and any ongoing monitoring of the threat.
2. A report, all corresponding documentation, and any other information required by the instrument in the threat management portal under paragraph (c) is an education record and may not be retained, maintained, or transferred, except in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
3. Upon availability, each school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school must use the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument.
4. The office shall provide training for members of threat management teams established under s. 1006.07(7) and for all school districts and charter school governing boards regarding the use of the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument.
(c)1. By August 1, 2025, the office shall develop, host, maintain, and administer a threat management portal that will digitize the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument for use by each school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school. The portal will also facilitate the electronic threat assessment reporting and documentation as required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument to evaluate the behavior of students who may pose a threat to the school, school staff, or students and to coordinate intervention and services for such students. The portal may not provide the office with access to the portal unless authorized in accordance with State Board of Education rule. The portal must include, but need not be limited to, the following functionalities:
a. Workflow processes that align with the statewide behavioral threat management operational process.
b. Direct data entry and file uploading as required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument.
c. The ability to create a threat assessment report as required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument.
d. The ability of authorized personnel to add to or update a threat assessment report, all corresponding documentation, or any other information required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument.
e. The ability to create and remove connections between education records in the portal and authorized personnel.
f. The ability to grant access to and securely transfer any education records in the portal to other schools or charter schools in the district.
g. The ability to grant access to and securely transfer any education records in the portal to schools and charter schools not in the originating district.
h. The ability to retain, maintain, and transfer education records in the portal in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
i. The ability to restrict access to, entry of, modification of, and transfer of education records in the portal to a school district, school, charter school governing board, or charter school and authorized personnel as specified by the statewide behavioral threat management operational process.
j. The ability to designate school district or charter school governing board system administrators who may grant access to authorized school district and charter school governing board personnel and school and charter school system administrators.
k. The ability to designate school or charter school system administrators who may grant access to authorized school or charter school personnel.
l. The ability to notify the office’s system administrators and school district or charter school governing board system administrators of attempts to access any education records by unauthorized personnel.
2. Upon availability, each school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school shall use the portal.
3. A threat assessment report, all corresponding documentation, and any other information required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument which is maintained in the portal is an education record and may not be retained, maintained, or transferred, except in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
4. The office and the office system administrators may not have access to a threat assessment report, all corresponding documentation, and any other information required by the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument which is maintained in the portal.
5. A school district or charter school governing board may not have access to the education records in the portal, except in accordance with State Board of Education rule.
6. The parent of a student may access his or her student’s education records in the portal in accordance with State Board of Education rule, but may not have access to the portal.
7. The office shall develop and implement a quarterly portal access review audit process.
8. Upon availability, each school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school shall comply with the quarterly portal access review audit process developed by the office.
9. By August 1, 2025, and annually thereafter, the office shall provide role-based training to all authorized school district, school, charter school governing board, and charter school personnel.
10. Any individual who accesses, uses, or releases any education record contained in the portal for a purpose not specifically authorized by law commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable by a fine not exceeding $2,000.
(d) The office shall by August 1 of each year:
1. Evaluate each school district’s and charter school governing board’s use of the statewide behavioral threat management operational process, the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument, and the threat management portal for compliance with this subsection.
2. Notify the district school superintendent or charter school governing board, as applicable, if the use of the statewide behavioral threat management operational process, the Florida-specific behavioral threat assessment instrument, and the threat management portal is not in compliance with this subsection.
3. Report any issues of ongoing noncompliance with this subsection to the commissioner and the district school superintendent or the charter school governing board, as applicable.
(13) Develop, in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management; other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies; fire and rescue agencies; and first responder agencies, a model family reunification plan for use by child care facilities, public K-12 schools, and public postsecondary educational institutions that are closed or unexpectedly evacuated due to a natural or manmade disaster. This model plan shall consider the integration of student information and notification systems to facilitate reunification after a natural or manmade disaster. This model plan shall be reviewed annually and updated, as applicable.
(14) Monitor compliance with requirements relating to school safety by school districts and public schools, including charter schools. The office shall report incidents of noncompliance to the commissioner pursuant to s. 1001.11(9) and the state board pursuant to s. 1008.32 and other requirements of law, as appropriate.
(15) Annually publish a list detailing the total number of safe-school officers in this state, the total number of safe-school officers disciplined or relieved of their duties because of misconduct in the previous year, the total number of disciplinary incidents involving safe-school officers, and the number of incidents in which a safe-school officer discharged his or her firearm outside of a training situation or in the exercise of his or her duties as a safe-school officer.
(16) Maintain a current directory of public school-based diversion programs and cooperate with each judicial circuit and the Department of Juvenile Justice to facilitate their efforts to monitor and enforce each governing body’s compliance with s. 985.12.
History.s. 21, ch. 2018-3; s. 7, ch. 2019-22; s. 3, ch. 2021-176; s. 4, ch. 2022-174; s. 19, ch. 2023-18.
1Note.Section 20, ch. 2023-18, provides that “[e]ffective upon becoming a law, the State Board of Education may, and all conditions are deemed met, to adopt emergency rules pursuant to s. 120.54(4), Florida Statutes, for the purpose of implementing the amendments made to s. 1001.212(12), Florida Statutes, by this act. Notwithstanding any other law, emergency rules adopted pursuant to this section are effective for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt permanent rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules. This section expires July 1, 2024.”