By Kevin Deutsch
Safe Schools For Alex, a nonprofit formed by Max Schachter, whose son Alex was murdered during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, was awarded a nearly $2 million grant from the federal government to develop an enhanced school safety dashboard for Florida’s public K-12 schools.
Along with the University of Florida, Schachter’s 501(c)(3) was awarded $1,998,585 by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs to fund a pilot program for the new dashboard.
“Safe Schools for Alex is extremely excited to partner with the University of Florida and the Florida Department of Education to create the first real-time public School Safety Dashboard to assist parents, schools, legislators, and law enforcement in their efforts to reduce violence and exclusionary discipline in all K-12 schools statewide,” Max Schachter said in a written announcement Thursday. “We hope this pilot program becomes a model for how data can be used to make schools safer across the United States.”
Chris Curran, who directs the Education Policy Research Center at the University of Florida, is collaborating with Schachter’s nonprofit on the project.
“The opportunity to collaborate on expanding the work Safe Schools for Alex has begun while leveraging the robust school safety data collected in Florida provides unprecedented opportunities to use data to inform how and where we target supports to ensure safe schools,” Curran said.
Following several high-profile school shootings in recent years, including the attack that killed 17 people at MSD on Feb. 14, 2018, policymakers and educators have sought new ways to protect students in school. The new dashboard program aims to further protect kids from violent acts.
“In partnership with the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools, the newly funded initiative will work to build on Safe Schools for Alex’s existing school safety dashboards to enhance the user experience, incorporate more frequent updates of data, glean actionable insights from analysis of the data and support school personnel on the use of the dashboard,” according to the announcement.
According to the announcement, work on the enhanced school safety data dashboard project will begin in the coming months and continue through 2024.
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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