Florida is taking measures to prevent future school violence with the latest Social Media Monitoring Tool and a School Safety Portal.
These two tools and the information they provide are now required under state law so that schools throughout Florida are able to moderate and assess threats. All the information will be available to threat assessment teams.
According to a Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission report, what the Social Media Monitoring tool does is look at apps like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Flickr, Google+, Pinterest, and other common social media apps, authorizing school threat assessment teams to identify, assess, and intervene quickly when an individual poses a threat to either themselves or to others. They also report any unusual activity to the authorities of the school district.
The Keywords the Tool Will Monitor
The main way the teams monitor the apps is through keywords in five topics – Gun, Bomb, Bullying, Mental Health, and General. In addition, geo-tags defined at multiple levels depending on district population density are used to focus in on possible threats.
Once a post targets a specific school, notifications are sent to that District/School, but this is only done if the District/School is named in the threat.
Within the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission report, the Florida Department of Education uses the example of “I’m going to hurt someone at Westfield High.” This post would be captured with a notification sent to the school and district because it specifically mentions the school.
However, the second factor is the geo-fenced location on or near the school, so the post is only captured if it is posted inside of this area.
All of the information from this recent tool will be in a new Florida School Safety Portal, or FSSP, which will help threat assessment teams to assess the gravity of reported or identified threats and address them and/or assist in getting professional help.
All of this information is from the Florida Department of Education, which also noted the information is not meant to label students as threats.