Threat Assessment and Management in Schools

Threat assessment is a strategy to prevent violence by identifying and assisting troubled individuals about their potential for violence. The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education recom- mended a threat assessment approach nearly 20 years ago. Threat assessment must be adapted for schools, recognizing developmen- tal issues in young people and the social context of the school. Unlike threat assessment for protecting public figures, school threat assessment must recognize the overarching goal of helping all students to be successful in their education and development.

In school settings, threat assessment is a problem-solving approach to violence prevention that involves assessment and intervention with students who have threatened or pose a threat of violence in some way. The threat assessment team identifies threats made by students, as well as indicators that a student poses a threat in the absence of an explicit threat; evaluates the seriousness of the threat and the danger it poses to others, recognizing that all threats are not the same; intervenes to reduce the risk of violence; and follows up to assess the intervention results. In the most serious cases, protective action is taken.

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