Florida Initiates School Safety Database Amid Protests

Florida Initiates School Safety Database Amid Protests

A state school safety database will be launched, even though many have argued that this will erode students’ trust and be more harmful than helpful.

Florida has launched a state database in order to increase school safety, even though many organizations have said the database will be harmful rather than helpful.

This database is part of the legislation Gov. Ron DeSantis signed following the Parkland shooting last year. According to a press release last week, the Florida Department of Education said the database will be governed by “strict data governance and security measures” and will not store information on race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

In addition, it says that before gaining access, users must go through training. After they complete the training, they may only view the information and may not download it. This clarification followed a cry from 32 organizations last month that said the database was not relevant or ethical.

“We must dedicate the attention and resources necessary to protect our students, teachers and school personnel,” DeSantis said in a recent press release. “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.”

Amelia Vance, a director at the Future of Privacy Forum, wrote in an email to EdScoop that she is still concerned about privacy violations because it was not said whether or not there are limits on how much the data can be accessed.

The Future of Privacy Forum wrote a letter to the Senate Homeland, Security & Governmental Affairs Committee saying that officials must use this tool carefully if they must as trust is crucial in school communities.

“Trust is a crucial pillar of school communities. Student opportunities should not be limited, either by school safety concerns or by violations of their privacy,” the letter says.

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.

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    July/August 2019

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