Florida Senate - 2024                                    SB 1578
       By Senator Torres
       25-01486-24                                           20241578__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to student elopement; creating s.
    3         1003.211, F.S.; providing definitions; requiring
    4         public schools to create a School Staff Assistance for
    5         Emergencies (SAFE) Team and a school elopement plan;
    6         providing for membership and responsibilities of the
    7         SAFE Team; providing requirements for the plan;
    8         requiring the SAFE Team to create student-specific
    9         elopement quick reference guides for certain students;
   10         providing requirements for such guides; requiring
   11         public schools to annually submit their plans to the
   12         district school board; authorizing the State Board of
   13         Education to adopt rules; providing an effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Section 1003.211, Florida Statutes, is created
   18  to read:
   19         1003.211School elopement plans.—
   20         (1)For purposes of this section, the term:
   21         (a)“Disability” means, for a student in kindergarten
   22  through grade 12, an autism spectrum disorder, as defined in the
   23  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth
   24  Edition, published by the American Psychiatric Association, or
   25  an intellectual disability, as defined in s. 393.063.
   26         (b)“Elopement” means when a student with disabilities
   27  wanders away, walks away, runs away, escapes, or otherwise
   28  leaves the supervision of school staff or leaves school grounds
   29  unsupervised or unnoticed before the end of his or her scheduled
   30  school day.
   31         (2)To ensure the safety of students with disabilities at
   32  risk of elopement, each public school shall create a School
   33  Staff Assistance for Emergencies (SAFE) Team and a school
   34  elopement plan.
   35         (3)The school principal and assistant principal shall
   36  serve on the SAFE Team and the school principal shall appoint at
   37  least five other members to serve on the team. The SAFE Team
   38  shall:
   39         (a)Create and annually update the school elopement plan
   40  and respond to all elopements.
   41         (b)Provide training to all school personnel to familiarize
   42  such personnel with the school elopement plan and all necessary
   43  procedures, including, but not limited to, the search grid
   44  established pursuant to paragraph (4)(a) and any
   45  responsibilities of such personnel if an elopement occurs.
   46         (4)In developing the school elopement plan, the SAFE Team
   47  must include all of the following:
   48         (a)A search grid of the school campus and surrounding
   49  areas. The search grid must include all bodies of water,
   50  intersections, train tracks and stations, parks, playgrounds,
   51  and other features that may present a greater risk for students
   52  with disabilities at risk of elopement.
   53         (b)Procedures for school personnel to notify school
   54  administrators if a student with disabilities elopes and
   55  procedures for school personnel to immediately begin searching
   56  for the student. The procedures must specify that upon
   57  notification of an elopement, the SAFE Team must notify the
   58  school resource officer or school safety officer and local law
   59  enforcement.
   60         (c)Procedures for a coordinated response to an elopement,
   61  including, but not limited to, announcing a Code Gray, which
   62  will alert all school personnel to the elopement, and
   63  immediately contacting the student’s parent.
   64         (d)The names, positions, and contact information for all
   65  members of the SAFE Team.
   66         (e)Other information or procedures that the SAFE Team,
   67  district school board, or State Board of Education deems
   68  necessary.
   69         (5)(a)If a student with disabilities is prone to
   70  elopement, the SAFE Team, in coordination with the student’s
   71  parent, must create a student-specific elopement quick reference
   72  guide. The elopement quick reference guide must include all of
   73  the following:
   74         1.The student’s identifying information.
   75         2.A current photograph of the student.
   76         3.The student’s level of communication.
   77         4.A list of the student’s interests, behaviors,
   78  preferences, and aversions.
   79         5.Any health considerations for the student.
   80         6.A list of any GPS technology that could be used to help
   81  locate the student.
   82         7.A list of possible locations where the student may go
   83  within the search grid.
   84         (b)The SAFE Team must distribute a student’s elopement
   85  quick reference guide to the student’s parent and all relevant
   86  school personnel.
   87         (6)Each public school must annually provide its elopement
   88  plan to the district school board.
   89         (7)The state board may adopt rules to administer this
   90  section.
   91         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.