The Flagler County School Board is looking at getting a system to help stop any potential threat from being carried out anywhere in the school district.

  • Flagler County Schools looking at system to stop potential threats
  • Social Sentinel would track harmful social media posts
  • System wouldn't collect personal data

Claudio Joya's grandchildren attend Bunnell Elementary and Flagler Early Learning Center schools and he believes safety for them is a priority.

"It’s very difficult now because you don't know if you want to send your kid or your grandkid to school you don't know if anything could happen now, too much violence in the school," Joya said.

That’s why Joya said he supports anything the district wants to do to give an extra layer of protection for the children.  The school board is looking at adding a system called "Social Sentinel” that will track possible harmful posts on all social media platforms in nearly real-time.

"They look for keywords key phrases, then they will tag those particular words or phrases," said Jason Wheeler, Flagler Schools’ community information specialist.

Wheeler said once a possible threat is posted on social media, the school district will get an alert then the appropriate officials will respond accordingly.

"We're able to get on this much quicker than if we were just waiting around for something to happen," Wheeler said. 

The district will be able to use this system to also pick up bullying and possible suicide key phrases from students’ posts as well.

The system will cost $18,500 per year which will come out of the Safe Schools funding from the state.

"We can harden the schools as much as we can we can add multiple school resource deputies on our campuses but we can't see probably the greatest communication going on among children right now is social media," said Wheeler.

The district said the system won’t collect and keep data or personal or profile information but scan only.

The system looks at eminent threats at schools and district including teachers, staff, or personnel. It also covers possible drug references, bullying, and mental health.

"It’s for the benefit of all the parents and all the kids and their education," Joya said.

The system has access to more than a billion posts a day.

Tuesday's meeting was only a workshop and if the board decides to vote to approve this system they'll vote in two weeks.