Florida Public Schools
The Florida Legislature has enacted two very tough laws dealing with Child Protection. Both Act's have specific language as they relate to children and schools. We are providing a synopsis of both laws and their official state websites, so that parents new to our state can obtain further information.
The Jessica Lunsford Act
The Jessica Lunsford Act was enacted in 2005 following the assault and murder of Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa Springs, Florida. The Act's primary focus is on increasing the measures used to monitor sexual offenders or predators. Additionally, part of the Act specifically relates to individuals with access to school district campuses. The statute applies to three categories of non-instructional or contractual personnel, all whom must meet Level 2 background screening requirements. They include those persons:
- Who are permitted access on school grounds when students are present;
- Who have direct contact with students; and
- Who have access to, or control of, school funds.
It applies to such persons employed or contracted with any Florida public school district in any Florida public school including Traditional Public Schools, Charter Schools, and Alternative Schools. It does not, however, apply to volunteers or those acting in a mentoring capacity. School District responsibilities include:
- Finger Printing and Criminal History Check.
- Screening and Criminal History Costs.
- Verification of Personnel on School Campuses.
- Record Sharing with other Public School Districts.
- Record Keeping and Maintenance.
These procedures will be done on all individuals every 5 years following employment or entry into a contract with any school district. If it is found that the person who is employed or under contract does not meet the Level 2 requirements, the person shall be immediately suspended from working in that capacity and shall remain suspended until final resolution of any appeals.
For more in-depth information about this Act, please see the specific statute at Online Sunshine, The Official Web Site of the Florida Legislature at www.leg.state.fl.us.
The Florida Sexual Predators Act
Parents seeking information on possible sexual predators may now find additional information about offenders posted on Florida's Official State Website, www.fdle.state.fl.us. Saying it's unfair to lump all offenders into the same category, the state now includes details of each crime and the date when it occurred. This site is updated often and is a reliable resource for parents to use. It also includes other relevant information like Amber Alerts, State of Florida updates, articles, and other criminal related activity reports.
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