Home > Uncategorized > The Florida Legislature’s Solution to School Shootings: Collect Data on Children Instead of Limiting Access to Military Grade Weapons

The Florida Legislature’s Solution to School Shootings: Collect Data on Children Instead of Limiting Access to Military Grade Weapons

The title of a CNBC report by Kate Fazzini is chilling:

Florida is scooping up huge amounts of data on schoolchildren, including security camera footage and discipline records, and researchers are worried

The reason for collecting this data is not revealed in the headline but IS revealed in the second bullet point at the beginning of the article:

  • Florida schools are now required to collect, store and crunch data on students in the name of predicting a school shooting.

This bullet point was elaborated on later:

Florida schools are now required to collect, store and crunch data on students in the name of predicting school shootings. The Florida Schools Safety Portal, or FSSP, executive order was issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year in response to the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Along with this caveat,drawn from research done by the Aspen Institute:

No evidence-based research has demonstrated that a data-driven surveillance system such as the FSSP will be effective in preventing school violence. In addition, no information is publicly available about how the database was designed, developed, or tested,” according to preliminary findings by researchers.

Researchers from the Aspen Institute DID offer some details, though:

The law requires Florida school districts to store huge amounts of data in one database, including thousands of hours of video footage, grade cards, student disciplinary records and teacher memos. It also includes information on children collected through “social media monitoring, local law enforcement agencies, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Baker Act admissions, and the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System, which aggregates data on crime, violence, and disruptive behaviors.

There’s a massive amount of data going into this database, but they still haven’t been transparent about what algorithm they are using. Using administrative data to predict future behavior, it’s not evidence-based.

Aspen expressed concerns that the data gathered would “disproportionately affect students with disabilities and African American males, two groups that have traditionally received disproportionately higher disciplinary actions than other students” while noting that “…there’s no evidence that students who have discipline problems in school go on to become school shooters.”

What neither CNBC nor the Aspen Institute did say was that the Governor and the Legislature had a choice: they could go after military grade weapons owned by a handful of gun owners or they could compromise the privacy of tens of thousands of school children. The choice from where I sit would be easy… but then the NRA isn’t underwriting my blog.

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