School-by-school data on safety incidents such as fights, stolen property or suspensions will be reported, for the first time, on a month-by-month basis through the state Department of Education (DOE) starting in 2023.
That’s the goal of a U.S. Department of Justice grant of nearly $2 million that’s creating a collaboration between a University of Florida education professor, the Department of Education and Safe Schools for Alex, a nonprofit inspired by Florida’s worst school shooting and dedicated to researching the best practices for increasing school safety.
Safe Schools for Alex currently has a dashboard where visitors can see the ranking of schools based on incidents reported in 2019-2020. But this new dashboard, set up through the state DOE, would have school-level data reported month to month, Max Schachter said. Schacter started Safe Schools for Alex in honor of his son, who was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
“We hope this pilot program becomes a model for how data can be used to make schools safer across the United States,” Schachter said.
Better, easier access to school safety data was one of the goals stated in the update to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act the Legislature approved in the recent Legislative Session that ended this month.
Too often, school safety data is in formats that are hard for the public, parents and school personnel to access and use. That makes it harder to see trends over time and compare across schools, according to F. Chris Curran, a UF professor of educational leadership and policy.
“In prior work, we’ve found that around half of states do not have publicly available school-level data on student behavior or discipline,” said Curran, who directs the Education Policy Research Center at UF’s College of Education.
The school safety dashboard will make it so that schools can track and respond effectively to what’s going on, according to a news release from the University of Florida.