Threat Assessment: Identifying Students Who Pose Potential Risk
In 2012 alone, students ages 12–18 were victims of roughly 1,364,900 nonfatal incidents (theft, bullying, and both violent and nonviolent victimizations) in our schools, according to the Institute of Education Sciences. As a result of such horrifying statistics, a higher percentage of students reported that they were afraid of attack or harm at school than away from school, and 5.9% did not go to school on one or more days in the 30 days preceding a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey because they felt unsafe at school.
“Any instance of crime or violence at school not only affects the individuals involved but also may disrupt the educational process…,” according to a report conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice. “Our nation’s schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning free of crime and violence.”
For students to succeed in the classroom and in life, their educational environment must be one of learning, encouragement, and, perhaps most importantly, safety. The solution: Threat Assessment.
What is Threat Assessment?
Threat assessment is a proactive method used to evaluate the risk posed by a student or another person to help stop targeted violence before it happens. 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.
Positive interventions and proactive assessments are the best tools for our children’s promising development.
Identifying Students Who Pose Potential Risk
Effective threat assessment is not an examination of the student body as a whole, but rather the identification of the concerning behaviors of individuals. But, perhaps most importantly, effective threat assessment is based on facts, not just characteristics, traits, or assumptions. Finally, threat assessment is a tool for responding to students who pose a potential risk.
These students can be identified in a number of different ways, including:
- Class Work: Perhaps a student has submitted one or several concerning projects, such as an English paper describing acts of violence or a video project mentioning bringing bombs to school.
- Threats: Sometimes students who pose potential risk can be identified by the threatening behaviors they display. These can include verbal or written threats.
- Online: The Internet can also be a tool used to help identify potentially threatening students. Sometimes these individuals post their plans on social media or a personal website.
- Observed Behavior: A school employee, teacher, parent, or fellow student overhears or observes threatening behavior and reports this behavior to school officials.
- Active Threats: A student has been threatened by another student and reports these threats to school officials.
- Anonymous Notification: A student, parent, or school employee will anonymously warn school officials of threatening behavior. Such anonymous reports must be thoroughly investigated to confirm accuracy.
Each of the above situations is a warning sign that should spark a follow-up inquiry or investigation. Do you know what to do next?
Threat Assessment Training With Defender, L.L.C.
With the help of Defender, L.L.C., schools can better train their current teachers, counselors, and other staff members on how to identify potential warning signs and stop violent behavior before it happens. We do this using Defender, L.L.C.’s OA2 ™ training program focused on positive behavioral interventions and behavioral assessments. This program will help to identify issues that arise during the course of students’ lives and teach techniques to assist in a positive and proactive manner.
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.