State law regulation or district policy requires districts to adopt threat assessment policies.
Behavioral Threat Assessment
This webpage provides guidance for schools developing threat assessment policies, including a standardized statewide behavioral threat assessment instrument and model policies and best practices.
Florida Statutes 1001.212 Office of Safe Schools.
(12) By August 1, 2019, develop a standardized, statewide behavioral threat assessment instrument for use by all public schools, including charter schools, which addresses early identification, evaluation, early intervention, and student support.
(a) The standardized, statewide behavioral threat assessment instrument must include, but need not be limited to, components and forms that address:
An assessment of the threat, which includes an assessment of the student, family, and school and social dynamics.
An evaluation to determine if the threat is transient or substantive.
The response to a substantive threat, which includes the school response and the role of law enforcement agencies.
The response to a serious substantive threat, including mental health and law enforcement referrals.
Ongoing monitoring to assess implementation of safety strategies.
Training for members of threat assessment teams established under s. 1006.07(7) and school administrators regarding the use of the instrument.
(b) The office shall:
By August 1, 2020, evaluate each school district’s and charter school governing board’s behavioral threat assessment procedures for compliance with this subsection.
Notify the district school superintendent or charter school governing board, as applicable, if the behavioral threat assessment is not in compliance with this subsection.
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) Establish the Statewide Threat Assessment Database Workgroup, composed of members appointed by the department, to complement the work of the department and the Department of Law Enforcement associated with the centralized integrated data repository and data analytics resources initiative and make recommendations regarding the development of a statewide threat assessment database. The database must allow authorized public school personnel to enter information related to any threat assessment conducted at their respective schools using the instrument developed by the office pursuant to subsection (12), and must provide such information to authorized personnel in each school district and public school and to appropriate stakeholders. By December 31, 2019, the workgroup shall provide a report to the office with recommendations that include, but need not be limited to:
(a) Threat assessment data that should be required to be entered into the database.
Florida Statutes 1006.07 District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety.
(6) Safety and security best practices. — Each district school superintendent shall establish policies and procedures for the prevention of violence on school grounds, including the assessment of and intervention with individuals whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of the school community. (7) Threat assessment teams. — Each district school board shall adopt policies for the establishment of threat assessment teams at each school whose duties include the coordination of resources and assessment and intervention with individuals whose behavior may pose a threat to the safety of school staff or students consistent with the model policies developed by the Office of Safe Schools. Such policies must include procedures for referrals to mental health services identified by the school district pursuant to s. 1012.584(4), when appropriate, and procedures for behavioral threat assessments in compliance with the instrument developed pursuant to s. 1001.212(12).
(a) A threat assessment team shall include persons with expertise in counseling, instruction, school administration, and law enforcement. The threat assessment teams shall identify members of the school community to whom threatening behavior should be reported and provide guidance to students, faculty, and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, school, or self. Upon the availability of the behavioral threat assessment instrument developed pursuant to s. 1001.212(12), the threat assessment team shall use that instrument.
(b) Upon a preliminary determination that a student poses a threat of violence or physical harm to himself or herself or others, a threat assessment team shall immediately report its determination to the superintendent or his or her designee. The superintendent or his or her designee shall immediately attempt to notify the student’s parent or legal guardian. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude school district personnel from acting immediately to address an imminent threat.
(c) Upon a preliminary determination by the threat assessment team that a student poses a threat of violence to himself or herself or others or exhibits significantly disruptive behavior or need for assistance, authorized members of the threat assessment team may obtain criminal history record information pursuant to s. 985.04(1). A member of a threat assessment team may not disclose any criminal history record information obtained pursuant to this section or otherwise use any record of an individual beyond the purpose for which such disclosure was made to the threat assessment team.
(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all state and local agencies and programs that provide services to students experiencing or at risk of an emotional disturbance or a mental illness, including the school districts, school personnel, state and local law enforcement agencies, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Education, the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem Office, and any service or support provider contracting with such agencies, may share with each other records or information that are confidential or exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 if the records or information are reasonably necessary to ensure access to appropriate services for the student or to ensure the safety of the student or others. All such state and local agencies and programs shall communicate, collaborate, and coordinate efforts to serve such students.
(e) If an immediate mental health or substance abuse crisis is suspected, school personnel shall follow policies established by the threat assessment team to engage behavioral health crisis resources. Behavioral health crisis resources, including, but not limited to, mobile crisis teams and school resource officers trained in crisis intervention, shall provide emergency intervention and assessment, make recommendations, and refer the student for appropriate services. Onsite school personnel shall report all such situations and actions taken to the threat assessment team, which shall contact the other agencies involved with the student and any known service providers to share information and coordinate any necessary followup actions. Upon the student’s transfer to a different school, the threat assessment team shall verify that any intervention services provided to the student remain in place until the threat assessment team of the receiving school independently determines the need for intervention services.
(f) Each threat assessment team established pursuant to this subsection shall report quantitative data on its activities to the Office of Safe Schools in accordance with guidance from the office and shall utilize the threat assessment database developed pursuant to s. 1001.212(13) upon the availability of the database.
Florida Statutes 1006.13 Policy of zero tolerance for crime and victimization.
(1) District school boards shall promote a safe and supportive learning environment in schools by protecting students and staff from conduct that poses a threat to school safety. A threat assessment team may use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies to address disruptive behavior through restitution, civil citation, teen court, neighborhood restorative justice, or similar programs. Zero-tolerance policies may not be rigorously applied to petty acts of misconduct. Zero-tolerance policies must apply equally to all students regardless of their economic status, race, or disability.
(2) Each district school board shall adopt a policy of zero tolerance that:
(a) Defines criteria for reporting to a law enforcement agency any act that poses a threat to school safety that occurs whenever or wherever students are within the jurisdiction of the district school board.
(b) Defines acts that pose a threat to school safety.
(c) Defines petty acts of misconduct which are not a threat to school safety and do not require consultation with law enforcement.
(d) Minimizes the victimization of students, staff, or volunteers, including taking all steps necessary to protect the victim of any violent crime from any further victimization.
(e) Establishes a procedure that provides each student with the opportunity for a review of the disciplinary action imposed pursuant to s. 1006.07.
(f) Requires the threat assessment team to consult with law enforcement when a student exhibits a pattern of behavior, based upon previous acts or the severity of an act, that would pose a threat to school safety.
(3) Zero-tolerance policies must require students found to have committed one of the following offenses to be expelled, with or without continuing educational services, from the student’s regular school for a period of not less than 1 full year, and to be referred to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.
(a) Bringing a firearm or weapon, as defined in chapter 790, to school, to any school function, or onto any school-sponsored transportation or possessing a firearm at school.
(b) Making a threat or false report, as defined by ss. 790.162 and 790.163, respectively, involving school or school personnel’s property, school transportation, or a school-sponsored activity. District school boards may assign the student to a disciplinary program for the purpose of continuing educational services during the period of expulsion. District school superintendents may consider the 1-year expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis and request the district school board to modify the requirement by assigning the student to a disciplinary program or second chance school if the request for modification is in writing and it is determined to be in the best interest of the student and the school system. If a student committing any of the offenses in this subsection is a student who has a disability, the district school board shall comply with applicable State Board of Education rules.
(4)(a) Each district school board shall enter into agreements with the county sheriff’s office and local police department specifying guidelines for ensuring that acts that pose a threat to school safety, whether committed by a student or adult, are reported to a law enforcement agency.
(b) The agreements must include the role of school resource officers, if applicable, in handling reported incidents and a procedure requiring school personnel to consult with school resource officers concerning appropriate delinquent acts and crimes.
(c) The school principal shall notify all school personnel as to their responsibilities regarding incident reporting, that acts which pose a threat to school safety and crimes are properly reported to the school principal, or his or her designee, and that the disposition of the incident is properly documented.
(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, each district school board shall adopt rules providing that any student found to have committed any offense in s. 784.081(1), (2), or (3) shall be expelled or placed in an alternative school setting or other program, as appropriate. Upon being charged with the offense, the student shall be removed from the classroom immediately and placed in an alternative school setting pending disposition.
(6)(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law prohibiting the disclosure of the identity of a minor, whenever any student who is attending a public school is adjudicated guilty of or delinquent for, or is found to have committed, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld, or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony violation of:
Chapter 782, relating to homicide;
Chapter 784, relating to assault, battery, and culpable negligence;
Chapter 787, relating to kidnapping, false imprisonment, luring or enticing a child, and custody offenses;
Chapter 794, relating to sexual battery;
Chapter 800, relating to lewdness and indecent exposure;
Chapter 827, relating to abuse of children;
Section 812.13, relating to robbery;
Section 812.131, relating to robbery by sudden snatching;
Section 812.133, relating to carjacking; or
Section 812.135, relating to home-invasion robbery, and, before or at the time of such adjudication, withholding of adjudication, or plea, the offender was attending a school attended by the victim or a sibling of the victim of the offense, the Department of Juvenile Justice shall notify the appropriate district school board of the adjudication or plea, the requirements in this paragraph, and whether the offender is prohibited from attending that school or riding on a school bus whenever the victim or a sibling of the victim is attending the same school or riding on the same school bus, except as provided pursuant to a written disposition order under s. 985.455(2). Upon receipt of such notice, the district school board shall take appropriate action to effectuate the provisions in paragraph (b).
(b) Each district school board shall adopt a cooperative agreement with the Department of Juvenile Justice which establishes guidelines for ensuring that any no contact order entered by a court is reported and enforced and that all of the necessary steps are taken to protect the victim of the offense. Any offender described in paragraph (a), who is not exempted as provided in paragraph (a), may not attend any school attended by the victim or a sibling of the victim of the offense or ride on a school bus on which the victim or a sibling of the victim is riding. The offender shall be permitted by the district school board to attend another school within the district in which the offender resides, only if the other school is not attended by the victim or sibling of the victim of the offense; or the offender may be permitted by another district school board to attend a school in that district if the offender is unable to attend any school in the district in which the offender resides.
(c) If the offender is unable to attend any other school in the district in which the offender resides and is prohibited from attending a school in another school district, the district school board in the school district in which the offender resides shall take every reasonable precaution to keep the offender separated from the victim while on school grounds or on school transportation. The steps to be taken by a district school board to keep the offender separated from the victim must include, but are not limited to, in-school suspension of the offender and the scheduling of classes, lunch, or other school activities of the victim and the offender so as not to coincide.
(d) The offender, or the parents of the offender if the offender is a juvenile, shall arrange and pay for transportation associated with or required by the offender’s attending another school or that would be required as a consequence of the prohibition against riding on a school bus on which the victim or a sibling of the victim is riding. However, the offender or the parents of the offender may not be charged for existing modes of transportation that can be used by the offender at no additional cost to the district school board.
(7) Any disciplinary or prosecutorial action taken against a student who violates a zero-tolerance policy must be based on the particular circumstances of the student’s misconduct.
(8) A threat assessment team may use alternatives to expulsion or referral to law enforcement agencies unless the use of such alternatives will pose a threat to school safety.