New statewide database could gather information on potential threats in schools
With just 32 days until students return to the classroom, a new safety tool using a statewide database is being put into place to gather information on potential threats.
Residents here in Southwest Florida have mixed feelings about the database, and the potential harm it could cause to students, but also recognize it could provide safety to students.
“If it’s helping students at the end of the day and keeping them safe at school to where they’re there to learn not to have to worry about their lives that’s it,” Kim Count said.
The point of the database is the identify students who are potential safety threat. law enforcement agencies like Cape Coral Police say they are already working with the school district to add this extra layer of protection.
Some agencies worry it could cause more harm than good to students. The American Civil liberties Union said in a statement they are “deeply concerned” the program will “label students as threats based on information that has no documented links to violent behavior.”
A forensic studies expert tells us social media is a critical factor in all of this.
“I say that because when you think about social media every one of the school shooters has used social media at some point to make some sort of vail threat,” said FGCU Professor, David Thomas.
“It tells you what a person is thinking at any given point in time and people usually document what their thoughts are and when you think of mental health history that is going to come through in that documentation,” Thomas said.
Dr. Thomas also says the database could run into the issue of violating FERPA and HIPPA laws. For that reason, he says all school districts and threat assessment teams in the state will need to follow a strict set of guidelines, which at this point have not been seen.