HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County School Board voted unanimously to approve and adopt a district-wide threat assessment policy. The vote represents the final step in implementing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
- Policy calls for threat assessment teams of counselors, administrators, law enforcement officers
- Teams aim to identify students who may be a threat to themselves or others, get them help
- Teams had already been in place - vote makes them part of official policy
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"At the end of the day, it comes down to what have we done procedurally and policy-wise and what have we implemented. We will be held accountable by the state," said school board member Cindy Stuart.
The focus of the policy is on threat assessment teams, which are made up of counselors, administrators and law enforcement officers.
The teams' goal at each school is to identify any students who may be a threat to themselves or others and get them the help they need before anyone gets hurt.
"There's no crystal ball, but this is a proactive measure," said Michael Kelleher, Supervisor of Clinical Care. "We're really trying to hit this early on, to hit the threat early on, to notice the threat early, to intervene early."
He said that could mean mental health support, behavioral modifications or disciplinary actions, depending on the situation.
Hillsborough County schools have had these teams in place for years, but this vote makes it part of official policy.
"Schools are safe places. When there is a threat we have a protocol, we have a team that investigates and gets the proper people in place for student safety," said Kelleher.