Online database could help identify potential school threats

A statewide database of certain student activities has been created in the name of school safety. The goal of the portal is to help school districts identify and assess potential threats, and intervene when someone might harm themselves or others.

"My understanding is that the portal is going to be a sort of clearinghouse for law enforcement, and eventually for members of Threat Assessment Teams to be able to research information about a student," said Pasco County Schools Spokesperson, Linda Cobbe.

The Florida Schools Safety Portal is designed to give authorized users access to timely information from multiple sources so a threat can be identified and averted. 

It pulls together data from the Department of Children and Families, law enforcement records, Baker Act admissions, the Department of Juvenile Justice, FortifyFL app reports, and social media monitoring.    

"It definitely is going to benefit school districts and law enforcement,” Cobbe said.

Creating this database was one of six directives in an executive order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis in February to improve school safety.

"A lot of times people who are committing mass violence, this is not a secret that this is something that could happen,” he said. “And so if you are proactive, if you're approaching it almost like an intelligence operation you have an opportunity to have an intervention before this happens."

Officials say the portal will be tightly controlled. Only people with access to criminal justice data can log-in, and they will only have a half-hour to view the intelligence.

"They are making sure that the information is secure and only authorized individuals will have access to it," said Cobbe.

Right now, it does not appear the portal is up and running. Bay Area school districts tell FOX 13 News they are waiting for direction from the state.