Florida Students to Have Social Media Activity Monitored As Part of New School Safety Portal
Florida lawmakers believe monitoring students' social media will help to prevent mass school shootings and other threats.
- By Sherelle Black
- August 28, 2019
In the age of mass school shootings, law enforcement officers and school officials are constantly searching for ways to prevent another one from happening.
Florida lawmakers believe they have found a tool that will help to identify potential threats to a school by monitoring students’ social media.
Through the Social Media Monitoring Tool, threat assessment teams for schools across Florida will be able to pull information from apps like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.
It can also monitor blogs, forums and customer review sites.
The software will monitor keywords under five topics: “gun,” “bomb,” “bullying,” “mental health” and “general.”
In a report, the Florida Department of Education states that if a student were to post something that targets a specific school, notifications will be sent to that district and school.
The tool also records the location of where posts were made.
This information is incorporated into a new Florida School Safety Portal, or FSSP. The FSSP will not be used to label students as potential threats, but rather is a tool to evaluate the seriousness of reported or identified threats and to assist in getting professional help when necessary, according to the Florida Department of Education.
The portal does not store information about students’ race, religion, disability or sexual orientation. However, it does combine an individual’s educational, criminal-justice and social-service records with their social data.
Additionally, the report states the department has strict privacy guidelines when it comes to the portal. The data will be governed by state and federal privacy laws and threat assessment members must undergo training and sign user agreements to obtain access to data.
Sherelle Black is a Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.