Office of Nassau County School Superintendent
August 9, 2019
Seventy Nassau County School District administrators, teachers, counselors, school safety officers, and school psychologists gathered on July 31, 2019, for threat assessment training. Each of these school district employees are members of their school’s threat assessment teams. As part of last year’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, all public schools in the state of Florida are required to have threat assessment teams, consisting of, at a minimum, persons with expertise in school administration, instruction, law enforcement, and counseling.
The training was provided by the district’s school safety specialist,
Glenn Virdin, who was assisted by school social worker Harper Spencer. Virdin and Spencer participated in four days of threat assessment training in Winter Haven, Florida, the week of July 22 – 25. The training was provided by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools and focused on best practices in threat assessment. A major portion of the training focused on the new, standardized “Threat Assessment and Response Protocol” developed by the FLDOE Office of Safe Schools. This protocol will be utilized by all threat assessment teams in public schools across the state of Florida.
All sixteen NCSD schools’ threat assessment teams participated in the training and learned that “threat assessment” is a violence prevention strategy, consisting of three parts 1) identification, 2) evaluation, and 3) intervention. Participants also learned about the different types of threats and were trained in use of the Threat Assessment and Response Protocol. The protocol developed by the Office of Safe Schools is modeled after the “Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines”, which is considered by many experts to be the most comprehensive and well-developed plan available.
Student safety remains the number one priority of Nassau County Schools. Threat assessment teams will play a big part in keeping our students and school employees safe. Other steps taken include hardening measures of facilities, security cameras in all schools, deployment of an armed SRO, safety officer or school guardian on all school campuses, an increase in frequency and quality of safety drills, implementation of bullying prevention, training staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid, deployment of additional mental health providers in schools, and enhanced communication with local law enforcement agencies (NCSO and FBPD).
Anyone suspecting a threat to any of our schools, students, or staff members is encouraged to make a report through the FortifyFlorida App.