Effective Threat Assessment is Threefold

Threat Assessment

Effective threat assessment is a threefold process.

About one in three high school students say they have been in a physical fight in the past year, and about one in eight of those students required medical attention for their injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On top of that, 7.4% of high school students report being threatened or injured with a weapon at school at least once in the past 12 months. That equates to one in every 13 kids. And since 1992, there have been approximately 387 active shooter incidents in schools across America.

Schools all across the country are spending billions of dollars on security measures – metal detectors, cameras, security guards, etc. – in an effort to better protect their students. However, many experts agree that the key to preventing school violence is threat assessment, a proactive method used to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person to help stop violent incidents before they happen.

“What we really need to think about is helping students who are distressed or troubled, in a conflict or being bullied or any number of different problems that can be addressed early before they escalate into violence,” said professor Dewey Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia.

Positive interventions and proactive assessments are the best tools for our children’s promising development.

Effective Threat Assessment is Threefold

Threat assessment is based on the belief that most incidents of targeted violence are premeditated and that there are warning signs that could alert school officials, teachers, or parents of impending danger. This is why effective threat assessment is threefold:

  1. The Person: First, the threat assessor must gather information about the person, the threat, in a threat assessment inquiry or investigation. Remember, effective threat assessment is based on facts, not assumptions or characteristics.
  2. The Situation: The threat assessor must gather information about the circumstances surrounding the situation. “When a student makes a threat, it’s really a symptom of frustration, that the student has encountered some kind of conflict or problem that he or she can’t resolve,” said Cornell. “The threat assessment team is really there to help resolve the problem so that there’s really no need for the threat.”
  3. The Setting: The threat assessor must consider the specific settings.

“Not every school is necessarily adopting best practice,” said Mark McGowan, director of the Child Study Center at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Sometimes they only do part of [the assessment]. Sometimes they think they’re doing it, but they’re not.”

The real issue is that many of these individuals are not properly trained.

Threat Assessment Training from Defender, L.L.C.

Defender Training and Consulting, L.L.C. trains educators, school staff, and guardians on positive behavioral interventions and behavioral assessments that will allow you to identify issues that arise during the course of students’ lives and teach techniques to assist in a positive and proactive manner.

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If you have any questions about Threat Assessment for Public and Private Schools, please contact Defender, L.L.C. by calling 410-381-8003 or fill out our Contact Form. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, put us in your Google+ circle, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for even more great information.