Schools are responsible for maintaining a safe and positive learning environment for all students and staff. School safety involves multiple components, one of which is violence prevention. It is critical that schools offer research-based Threat Assessment curriculum. This curriculum shares the important evidence-based components of national and state programs, such as the National Threat Assessment Center. In addition to training threat assessment team members on identifying students at risk, the seriousness of the risk, and the process and interventions needed, a threat assessment tool should be available which will help guide team members throughout the process. This tool should capture key information including victim information, disciplinary action, interventions, student interviews, witness interviews, and safety precautions.
Once a threat is identified, the Threat Assessment Team will be responsible for the following:
evaluating the threat
creating a response plan
responding to substantive threats
conducting a safety evaluation
implementing and monitoring the safety plan
tracking progress over time
Based on this information, an annual data review can determine additional training needs and areas of improvement, both at a district level and an organization wide level.
Schools in Ohio must take training from organizations that have met the statutory requirements (evidence based and curriculum) for compliance with HB 123. Safeguard Risk Solutions has been approved to deliver this training in Ohio. In addition, we are fortunate to work with PublicSchoolWORKS, a K-12 Safety and Compliance Training company. They offer an introduction course to Threat Assessment and Management that provides information on the role and responsibilities of threat assessment team members. This course also shares general information on how to conduct threat assessment investigations, assessments, and presents options for managing threats and supporting students of concern. It also examines questions to ask, mental health matters, setting boundaries, different levels of concern, and legal considerations. In addition to the Threat Assessment course, they also provide online training on topics like Blood-Borne Pathogens, Administering Medication, and the always informative Slips, Trips, and Falls.
PublicSchoolWORKS’ course on Threat Assessment includes how to identify students who may pose a threat. This course focuses on targeted violence, in which a known or knowable assailant selects a particular target prior to carrying out an attack. Prior acts of targeted school violence are studied to identify the precipitating events, and the offenders’ pre-incident behaviors and communications. This process can help a school to take action should an individual exhibit concerning behaviors, which almost always precede an attack.
If your district is one of the many that already use PublicSchoolWORKS, this training is available at no additional cost and meets the requirements in Ohio of HB 123. If your state requires these types of trainings, be sure to check if they will accept the PublicSchoolWORKS courses.
Additional information about Threat Assessment is available from several sources including the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, the US Department of Homeland Security, SAMHSA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Department of Education.