What We Do
The Office of Safe Schools serves as a central repository for best practices, training standards and compliance oversight in all matters regarding school safety and security. Our mission is to support districts in providing a safe learning environment for students and educators. The primary goals of the office: Prevention, Intervention, and Emergency Preparedness Planning
The Office was created by the Florida Legislature after the February 14, 2018, school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Senate Bill 7026 reflected the will of lawmakers, impacted families, educators and public safety professionals to never experience another school shooting in Florida.
“The Legislature intends to address this crisis by providing law enforcement and the courts with the tools to enhance public safety by temporarily restricting firearm possession by a person who is undergoing a mental health crisis and when there is evidence of a threat of violence, and by promoting school safety and enhanced coordination between education and law enforcement entities at the state and local level.”
- Chapter 2018-3, Laws of Florida
The 2018 legislation, as well as subsequent school safety laws, have focused on the very best practices for security in schools:
- A trained and armed safe-school officer on every campus (s. 1006.12, F.S.)
- An anonymous reporting tool for school safety tips (s. 943.082, F.S.)
- A commission to analyze mass shootings incidents in Florida and to recommend system improvements (s. 943.687, F.S.)
- Robust risk assessments for schools and districts (s. 1006.1493, F.S.)
- Teams that are trained in a common behavioral threat management operational process (s. 1006.07(7), F.S.)
- Implementation of a mobile panic alert system in every school that supports coordination among first responder agencies (s. 1006.07(4), F.S.)
- Effective emergency drill requirements
- A requirement for every law enforcement agency to create and maintain an active assailant response policy (s. 943.6873, F.S.)
- Promotion of firearm detection canines in Florida schools (s. 1006.121, F.S.)
As directed by Florida statutes and rules, the Office of Safe Schools has four major functional areas to support school safety efforts statewide:
- Training and Communications
- Grants and Contracts
- Data and Analytics
Alerts & Tips
In accordance with section (s.) 1006.07(4), Florida Statutes (F.S.), all Florida public schools, including charters, must implement a mobile panic alert system capable of connecting diverse emergency services technologies to ensure real-time coordination between multiple first responder agencies beginning with the 2021-2022 school year. Such system, known as “Alyssa’s Alert,” must integrate with local public safety answering point infrastructure to transmit 911 calls and mobile activations. To learn more about this lifesaving program, visit our Alyssa’s Alert page.
All Florida schools can receive tips from FortifyFL, a suspicious activity reporting tool that allows anyone to instantly relay information to appropriate law enforcement agencies and school officials. FortifyFL was created and funded by the 2018 Florida Legislature as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act as s. 943.082, F.S. The application was named by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Office of Attorney General, Department of Education and Florida Department of Law Enforcement coordinated its development and roll-out. Go to http://getfortifyfl.com/ for more information.
Every school should prioritize the safety and security of its students and staff.
Any school can improve safety by:
- Locking classroom doors during school hours
- Controlling visitor access to campus through a single point of entry
- Screening all campus visitors
- Empowering all staff to activate an emergency response
- Identifying the safest space in every classroom
- Providing emergency covers for all classroom windows
- Ensuring every student has a trusted adult
- Coordinating with first responders before a campus emergency
Other best practices resources can be found on the Office of Safe Schools Best Practices page.
Compliance Monitoring – Schools & Districts
Rule 6A-1.0018, F.A.C., outlines most of the school safety compliance requirements for Florida’s public school districts, traditional public schools and public charter schools.
- A trained, armed safe-school officer assigned to every school facility
- Implementation of a mobile panic alert system
- A dedicated threat management team at every school and district
- A designated, trained school safety specialist in every district
- School board-adopted plans for active assailant and family reunification
- Regular emergency drills at all schools
- Annual school and district risk assessments
- Safety incident data reporting
Florida Safe Schools Canine Grant Program
The Canine Grant Program allocates funds to school districts in designated “fiscally constrained counties” for the purchase and training of a firearms detection canine to be deployed in schools. The schools must partner with a law enforcement agency. The canine must be trained to interact with children and must complete behavior and temperament training. A firearm detection canine may also be trained as an animal-assisted therapy canine.
Chris Hixon, Coach Aaron Feis, and Coach Scott Beigel Guardian Program
The Guardian Program allocates funds to participating sheriffs’ offices for screening and training volunteers to respond immediately in the event of a school shooting. Volunteers may include contracted Class C & G licensed security guards, as well as certain district and charter school employees. District and charter school volunteers receive a one-time stipend for serving in the program. The schools must partner with a sheriff’s office to participate in the Guardian Program. Private schools participating in the Guardian Program are responsible for all training costs.
School Hardening Grant Program
The School Hardening Grant program allocates funds to school districts and charter schools to improve the physical security of school buildings based on a security risk assessment required by section 1006.07(6), Florida Statutes and school hardening needs report submitted by districts.
- Items must be physically attached to school property (fixed capital outlay).
- Items must be associated with improving the physical safety and security of buildings.
- Items must be Identified by a security risk assessment as a need.
- Items must be used for items other than code compliance deficiencies; and
- Items must be used in addition to or to augment existing security features.
Security Funding for Jewish Day Schools Program
The Jewish Day Schools Grant program allocates funds to provide professional security guards at Florida Jewish day schools. Jewish day schools who have a legitimate concern from groups on the State Department's Terrorist watch list or from anti-Semitic acts are eligible for funding.
- S. 30.15(k), F.S. – Chris Hixon, Coach Aaron Feis, and Coach Scott Beigel Guardian Program
- S. 943.082, F.S. – School Safety Awareness Program (FortifyFL)
- S. 1001.212, F.S. – Office of Safe Schools
- S. 1002.33(16), F.S. – Charter Schools, Exemption from Statutes
- S. 1006.07, F.S. – District school board duties relating to student discipline and school safety
- S. 1006.08, F.S. – District school superintendent duties relating to student discipline and school safety
- S. 1006.09, F.S. – Duties of school principal relating to student discipline and school safety
- S. 1006.12, F.S. – Safe-school officers at each public school
- S. 1006.121, F.S. – Florida Safe Schools Canine Program
- S. 1006.13, F.S. – Policy of zero tolerance for crime and victimization
- S. 1006.147, F.S. – Bullying and harassment prohibited
- S. 1006.1493, F.S. – Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool
Florida Administrative Code (State Board of Education Rules)
- Rule 6A-1.0017, F.A.C., - School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting (SESIR)
- Rule 6A-1.0018, F.A.C., - School Safety Requirements and Monitoring
- Rule 6A-1.0019, F.A.C., - Threat Management
- Rule 6A-1.0020, F.A.C., - Florida Safe Schools Canine Program
Section 1006.12, F.S., requires “one or more safe-school officers at each school facility within the district, including charter schools.” Safe-school officers can be either certified law enforcement officers or guardians trained under the Chris Hixon, Coach Aaron Feis, and Coach Scott Beigel Guardian Program.
The Chris Hixon, Coach Aaron Feis, and Coach Scott Beigel Guardian Program was established in 2018 through the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. In its initial report, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission found that having guardians in schools is the best way to ensure highly trained personnel are in place to respond immediately in the event of a school shooting.
The Florida Safe Schools Assessment Tool (FSSAT) is an online platform for enhanced risk assessment and domain awareness at the state, district and school levels — providing a broad array of security risk assessment, field reporting, data analytics and information-sharing capabilities for all school safety stakeholders, from state administrators to district security directors and school personnel responsible for the safety and security of students, staff and campus facilities. See the Office of Safe Schools FSSAT page for more information.
- General Inquiries - SafeSchools@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- Alyssa’s Alert - Alyssas.Alert@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- FortifyFL - FortifyFL@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- FSSAT - FSSAT@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- OSS Grants - OSSGrants@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- SESIR Reporting - SESIR@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com
- Threat Management - FloridaModel@tatsuishi-hoikuen.com