Parkland father launches dashboard to raise awareness on schools’ reports on violence, guns, drugs

A local nonprofit organization released a searchable database to make it easier for parents to quickly learn how safe their children’s public schools are in Florida.

Safe Schools For Alex, a nonprofit organization that focuses on school safety, launched the database and a statewide dashboard ahead of the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Related link: Find your school’s report

Max Schachter founded the organization in memory of his son Alex Schachter, who was among the 17 victims of the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at his school in Parkland He was 14 years old.

“I never thought that Alex would be murdered in his classroom,” Schachter said.

The organization used the bulk data from the public schools’ annual Florida Department of Education’s School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting, or SESIR, which includes the reports of 2,766 schools. Nearly 600 schools did not submit reports.

“Prior to this site being created by Safe Schools for Alex, parents had no idea. Schools aren’t going to be transparent and tell you that we had a hundred fights last year,” Schachter said.

The nonprofit organization’s dashboard aims to give a clear picture of the levels of physical attack, drug use, bullying, sexual assault, weapons possession, and other incidents.

Schachter said his hope is that administrators will use this data to understand what is happening inside schools and then increase resources for the schools that need it most.

“The site is there to create awareness and encourage conversations between schools and parents and community members,” Schachter said.

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.