School threat assessment training in Nassau County

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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.

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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.


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2 Responses to School threat assessment training in Nassau County

  1. Douglas Adkins says:

    The things that legislators for years worked to get local School Districts to include in their school safety budget included the following items – cameras (hallways, campus and class rooms), safe rooms inside the classroom areas, panic alarms to set off alerts, assessment of students “at risk” or who have known history of violence. There is about 800 assaults each year reported by the NCSO into the crime data system that relate to students or those under the age of 18 years old. When a person is prone to using violence to resolve conflict the brain will develop a neuro pathway that will use that same “solution” in solving future conflicts. The impact of stressors that students experience are a real challenge and we should recognize the need to address those factors, in addition we should consider some education on how to resolve conflict in day to day matters that students often come in contact with during the school year. Hopefully our students in Nassau County remain safe and we keep them safe as the new starts. We will keep our students and teachers in prayer as the new year starts.

  2. Jason Collins says:

    Kudos! As a father of 2 and 4 year old boys and a 3 year old granddaughter who will all be making their way through the Fernandina Beach School system it’s great to know Nassau County School District is being proactive about safety. Especially hope they put one or two armed teachers or safety officers, even retired police or military volunteers at every school, every day as a deterrent to would be shooters.

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