• DCPS School Board approves Threat Assessment Teams as an official school policy

    By: Elizabeth Pace , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    The Duval County Public School Board voted to approve policy 8.21, Threat Assessment Teams, which will now be included in the school policies under Auxiliary Services.

    This policy was proposed in September 2018 as part of a new state requirement under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act. The deadline was Sept. 1, but several schools across Florida are continuing to work on their school policies.

    In September, DCPS Chairman Paula Wright said the goal is to detect and de-escalate threatening behavior on campus. She said the policy will allow information to be given about students who are going to do physical harm to themselves or to others.

    A team will be assigned to each school in the district. The school board, however, is still working to determine which personnel will make up each of these teams.

    With the guidance of a School Safety Specialist, the district has already started implementing this policy in its schools. It said it adopted a similar policy listed in the state Legislator that includes these items:

    1. Designation of team membership
    2. Duties
    3. Sharing records among agencies
    4. Notification of parent or legal guardian when a student is assessed
    5. Frequency of meetings
    6. Collection of records for statistical retention.

    Action News Jax Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson said there is a risk of student profiling involved with law enforcement training.  

    “What we need to do is figure out how to prevent the actions, and that requires some intelligent addressing, and perhaps this group can communicate with law enforcement in a way that will allow them to more effectively deal with a potential problem,” Carson said.

    In September, DCPS said it will write specific criteria and procedures to prevent student profiling. The policy also includes notifying parents ahead of an assessment, and then directing the student to mental health resources. 

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