Could Florida’s new student threat database work in Ohio?

Police and family services records, school discipline, even social media posts will be included in the database

Could Florida’s new student threat database work in Ohio?

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Tracking student threats has become a priority for many schools.

Now Florida just activated a database that will compile all of this under a new law.

19 News is getting answers on whether this could help here in Ohio.

A gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida exactly 18 months ago this Wednesday.

He killed 17 students and educators and injured more than a dozen more people.

Wednesday was their first day of school for the 2019-2020 school year.

19 News spoke to a school security expert who likes the idea of it, but he thinks there could unintended consequences that put students’ privacy at risk.

Ken Trump, no relation to the President, is the president of National Safety and Security Services, based in Cleveland.

“The Florida database conceptually may be sound to improve information sharing, but the devil's in the details of implementation,” he said.

Trump has a lot of questions about the database.

“We know to tell people to see something, report it. The question is how do we train people once it’s reported on what to do efficiently and effectively,” he said.

Police and family services records, school discipline and even social media posts will be included in the database, called the Florida Schools Safety Portal.

Trump worries something like this could violate students' privacy.

“How's it going to be used? When someone gets this information, what will they do with it?” he said.

The Florida Department of Education says the portal does not store information like students' race or religion.

And authorized users will not be able to download or store information.

Trump isn't convinced this is the answer to school safety in Florida or here in Ohio.

“We can't look at a database, technology, to solve a human problem. It's an extra tool, but when you put those things together rather quickly, and you don't have policies and procedures in place you open up a huge risk for unintended consequences,” he said.

The Florida Department of Education said the portal will not be used to label students as potential threats, but “to evaluate the seriousness of reported or identified threats and to assist in getting professional help when necessary.”

“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,” said Governor Ron DeSantis in a press release.

You can read more about the Florida Schools Safety Portal here.

The new database was created after the Parkland shooting, along with a number of other safety initiatives.

The ACLU and nearly three dozen other organizations have raised concerns about privacy and the database.

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