Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model

Transcript

1 ENHANCING SCHOOL SAFETY USING A THREAT ASSESSMENT MODEL An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence National Threat Assessment Center July 2018

2 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE This guide was prepared by the staff of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) Lina Alathari, Ph.D. Diana Drysdale, M.A. Chief Lead Social Science Research Specialist Jeffrey McGarry, M.A. Ashley Blair, M.A. Social Science Research Specialist Social Science Research Specialist Catherine Camilletti, Ph.D. Amanda Snook, Ph.D. Social Science Research Specialist Social Science Research Specialist Steven Driscoll, M.Ed. Social Science Research Specialist National Threat Assessment Center U.S. Secret Service U.S. Department of Homeland Security July 2018 This publication is in the public domain. Authorization to copy and distribute this publication in whole or in part is granted. However, the U.S. Secret Service star insignia may not be used in any other manner without advance written permission from the agency. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, when quoting, paraphrasing, or otherwise referring to this report, the citation should be: National Threat Assessment Center. (2018). Enhancing school safety using a threat assessment model: An operational guide for preventing targeted school violence. U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security. An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model

3 This guide was prepared by the staff of the CONTENTS U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) Diana Drysdale, M.A. Lina Alathari, Ph.D. MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . IV Lead Social Science Research Specialist Chief INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Ashley Blair, M.A. Jeffrey McGarry, M.A. CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN . . 2 Social Science Research Specialist Social Science Research Specialist Step 1. Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team. 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2. Defne concerning and prohibited behaviors. Catherine Camilletti, Ph.D. Amanda Snook, Ph.D. Step 3. Create a central reporting mechanism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Social Science Research Specialist Social Science Research Specialist 6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4. Determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention. Step 5. Establish assessment procedures. 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Steven Driscoll, M.Ed. Investigative Themes: Social Science Research Specialist Motives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Inappropriate interests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 11 Weapons access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stressors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 13 Emotional and developmental issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Desperation or despair Violence as an option . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 14 Concerned others . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Capacity to carry out an attack 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Planning 15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Consistency Protective factors 16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 6. Develop risk management options. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Step 7. Create and promote safe school climates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 8. Conduct training for all stakeholders. CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Threat assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 School safety and violence prevention . 25 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Emergency management and response to school violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Creating safe and positive school climates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Prevention and intervention of bullying . 27 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mental health.

4 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR Since the creation of the U.S. Secret Service in 1865, the have redoubled our efforts and are poised to continue agency has evolved to meet changing mission demands enhancing school safety. Keeping our school children safe and growing threats in our nation. To ensure we remain requires the shared commitment from states, school boards, on the forefront, the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat and communities with the ability to dedicate resources Assessment Center (NTAC) was created in 1998 to provide to this critical issue. In the wake of these tragedies, the U.S. Secret Service has launched an initiative to provide guidance and training on threat assessment both within the U.S. Secret Service and to others with criminal justice updated research and guidance to school personnel, law enforcement, and other public safety partners on the and public safety responsibilities. Today, the highly skilled prevention of school-based violence. I am pleased to men and women of the U. S. Secret Service lead the feld of threat assessment by conducting research on acts of Enhancing School Safety release this operational guide, Using a Threat Assessment Model targeted violence and providing training using the agency’s , as the frst phase of this initiative. established threat assessment model for prevention. As we have seen in recent months, the pain of each act Our agency is dedicated to expanding research and of targeted violence in our nation’s schools has had a understanding of targeted violence, including those that powerful impact on all. With the creation and distribution of impact our nation’s schools. Since the creation of the U.S. Secret Service’s NTAC, we have provided 450 in-depth this operational guide, the U.S. Secret Service sets a path forward for sustainable practices to keep our children safe, trainings on the prevention of targeted school violence to extending our expertise in the feld of threat assessments over 93,000 attendees including school administrators, to provide school offcials, law enforcement personnel, and teachers, counselors, mental health professionals, school other public safety professionals with guidance on “how resource offcers, and other public safety partners. Our to” create a Targeted Violence Prevention Plan. This guide agency, through our local U.S. Secret Service feld offces, continues to coordinate and provide this training to our will serve as an important contribution to our partners on community partners. the Federal Commission on School Safety - the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Offce The tragic events of the February 14, 2018 shooting at of the Attorney General. I am proud of the continued efforts Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, of the U.S. Secret Service, and we remain committed to the and the May 18, 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, demonstrated the ongoing need to provide prevention of targeted violence within our nation’s schools and communities. leadership in preventing future school attacks. As such, the U.S. Secret Service, along with many of our partners, Randolph D. Alles Director Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence IV

5 “ There is no profle of INTRODUCTION a student attacker. ” The information gleaned from these studies underscores When incidents of school violence occur, they leave a the importance of establishing a threat assessment profound and lasting impact on the school, the community, process in schools to enhance proactive targeted violence and our nation as a whole. Ensuring safe environments prevention efforts. The goal of a threat assessment for elementary and secondary school students, educators, is to identify students of concern, assess their risk for administrators, and others is essential. This operational engaging in violence or other harmful activities, and guide was developed to provide fundamental direction on identify intervention strategies to manage that risk. This that is, how to prevent incidents of targeted school violence, guide provides actionable steps that schools can take to when a student specifcally selects a school or a member of develop a comprehensive targeted violence prevention the school community for harm. The content in this guide is plan and create processes and procedures for conducting based on information developed by the U.S. Secret Service, threat assessments on their campus. These steps serve Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division, National as minimum guidelines and may need to be adapted Threat Assessment Center (NTAC). for a particular school or district’s unique resources and challenges. For institutions that already have prevention Over the last 20 years, NTAC has conducted research, plans or threat assessment capabilities in place, these training, and consultation on threat assessment and the guidelines may provide additional information to update prevention of various forms of targeted violence. Following existing protocols, or to formalize the structures of reporting, the tragedy at Columbine High School in April 1999, the gathering information, and managing risk. Secret Service partnered with the Department of Education on a study that examined 37 incidents of targeted violence When establishing threat assessment capabilities within that occurred at elementary and secondary schools (i.e., K-12 schools, keep in mind that there is no profle of K-12). The goal of that study, the Safe School Initiative There have been male and female a student attacker. (SSI), was to gather and analyze accurate and useful attackers, high-achieving students with good grades as well information about the thinking and behavior of students who as poor performers. These acts of violence were committed SSI, commit these types of acts. The fndings of the and an by students who were loners and socially isolated, and accompanying guide, served as the impetus for establishing those who were well-liked and popular. Rather than threat assessment programs in schools. In 2008, the focusing solely on a student’s personality traits or school agencies collaborated again and released a report that performance, we can learn much more about a student’s fndings, namely, that SSI further explored one of the key risk for violence by working through the threat assessment prior to most attacks, though other students had information process, which is designed to gather the most relevant about the attackers’ plans, most did not report their information about the student’s communications and concerns to an adult. The fndings of this report, known as behaviors, the negative or stressful events the student has Bystander Study, highlighted the importance of creating the experienced, and the resources the student possesses to safe school climates to increase the likelihood that students 1 overcome those setbacks and challenges. will speak up in order to prevent an attack. 1 All publications related to studies conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) are available from https://www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac/. 1

6 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Ensuring the safety of our schools involves multiple components, including physical security, emergency management, and violence prevention efforts in the form of a threat assessment process. This process begins with establishing a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan. The plan includes forming a multidisciplinary threat assessment team, establishing central reporting mechanisms, identifying behaviors of concern, defning the threshold for law enforcement intervention, identifying risk management strategies, promoting safe school climates, and providing training to stakeholders. It can also help schools mitigate threats from a variety of individuals, including students, employees, or parents. This guide provides basic instructions for schools on creating a targeted violence prevention plan, the focus of which is to decrease the risk of engaging students in harm to themselves or the school community. These recommendations serve as the starting point on a path to implementation that will need to be customized to the specifc needs of your school, your student body, and your community. When creating these plans, schools should consult with legal representatives to ensure that they comply with any applicable state and federal laws or regulations. Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 2

7 “ ...meet on Step 1. a regular Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team basis... ” The frst step in developing a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan is to establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team (hereafter referred to as the “Team”) of individuals who will direct, manage, and document the threat assessment process. The Team will receive reports about concerning students and situations, gather additional information, assess the risk posed to the school community, and develop intervention and management strategies to mitigate any risk of harm. Some considerations for establishing a Team include: • Some schools may pool their resources and have a single Team that serves While the information in this an entire district or county, while other districts may choose to have a guide refers to this group separate Team for each school. as a Threat Assessment Team, schools can choose • Teams should include personnel from a variety of disciplines within the an alternative name. For school community, including teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, example, some schools school resource offcers, mental health professionals, and school have opted to use the administrators. The multidisciplinary nature of the Team ensures that label “Assessment and varying points of view will be represented and that access to information Care Team” to encourage and resources will be broad. involvement from those who might be concerned about • The Team needs to have a specifcally designated leader. This position is a student, and to focus on usually occupied by a senior administrator within the school. getting a student access to needed resources and that are followed for • Teams should establish protocols and procedures supports. Other schools each assessment, including who will interview the student of concern; who have chosen to refer to will talk to classmates, teachers, or parents; and who will be responsible for this group as a “Behavioral documenting the Team’s efforts. Established protocols allow for a smoother Intervention Team” to assessment process as Team members will be aware of their own roles and focus on a spectrum of responsibilities, as well as those of their colleagues. concerning behaviors that a student may be • Team members should meet whenever a concerning student or situation exhibiting. Finally, some meet on a regular has been brought to their attention, but they should also schools have continued basis to engage in discussions, role-playing scenarios, and other team- to refer to their groups as building and learning activities. This will provide members of the Team with “Threat Assessment Teams” opportunities to work together and learn their individual responsibilities so to highlight the heightened that when a crisis does arise, the Team will be able to operate more easily sense of concern about a as a cohesive unit. student who is identifed. 3

8 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 2. Defne prohibited and concerning behaviors • If these behaviors are observed or reported to the Team, Schools need to establish policies defning prohibited schools can offer resources and supports in the form of behaviors that are unacceptable and therefore warrant mentoring and counseling, mental health care, tutoring, or immediate intervention. These include threatening or engaging in violence, bringing a weapon to school, bullying social and family services. or harassing others, and other concerning or criminal should be relatively low • The behaviors. Keep in mind that concerning behaviors occur threshold for intervention so that Teams can identify students in distress before their along a continuum. School policies should also identify behaviors that may not necessarily be indicative of violence, behavior escalates to the point that classmates, teachers, but also warrant some type of intervention. These include or parents are concerned about their safety or the safety a marked decline in performance; increased absenteeism; of others. It is much easier to intervene when the concern is related to a student’s struggle to overcome personal withdrawal or isolation; sudden or dramatic changes in behavior or appearance; drug or alcohol use; and erratic, setbacks, such as a romantic breakup, than when there are concerns about threats posed to others. depressive, and other emotional or mental health symptoms. • During the assessment process, Teams may identify concerning statements and actions other made by the student that may not already be addressed in their policies. Gathering information about these behaviors will help the Team assess whether the student is at risk for attacking the school or its students and identify strategies to mitigate that risk. Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 4

9 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN “ ...reports will Step 3. be acted upon...” Create a central reporting mechanism Students may elicit concern from those around them in a Many reporting variety of ways. They may make threatening or concerning statements in person, online, or in text messages; they may mechanisms employed by K-12 schools resemble engage in observable risky behavior; or they may turn in nationwide criminal assignments with statements or content that is unusual or reporting apps. The online bizarre. When this occurs, those around the student need a and phone reporting method of reporting their concerns to the Team. capabilities of these types • Schools can establish one or more reporting of apps allow individuals such as an online form posted on the mechanisms, across the country, including students, school website, a dedicated email address or phone number, smart phone application platforms, or another parents, and teachers, to mechanism that is accessible for a particular school report crimes and other concerning behaviors community. in their communities and schools. Some • Students, teachers, staff, school resource offcers, and provided training and guidance on parents should be reporting mechanisms are developed specifcally for recognizing behaviors of concern, their roles and use by students in K-12 responsibilities in reporting the behavior, and how to report the information. school settings. These programs allow students, parents, and teachers • Teams need to be sure that a team member proactively to anonymously report monitors all incoming reports and can respond threats, bullying, and other immediately when someone’s safety is concerned. situations that make them feel unsafe or fear for the • Regardless of what method schools choose to receive these reports, there should be an option for passing safety of a peer to trained as students are more likely to experts who respond information anonymously, appropriately. report concerning or threatening information when they can do so without fear of retribution for coming forward. • The school community should feel confdent that team members will be responsive to their concerns, and that reports will be acted upon, kept confdential, and handled appropriately. 5

10 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 4. Determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention The vast majority of incidents or concerns that are likely to be reported can be handled by school personnel using school or community resources. For example, the most common types of reports submitted to Safe2Tell Colorado during the 2016- 2 Some of these common 2017 school year were related to suicide, bullying, drugs, cutting (self-harm), and depression. reports may not require the involvement of law enforcement. Those that do warrant law enforcement intervention include threats of violence and planned school attacks, which constituted Safe2Tell’s sixth and seventh most common types of reports, respectively. involving weapons, • Reports regarding student behaviors • If a school resource offcer is not available to serve on threats of violence, physical violence, or concerns the Team, schools should set a clear threshold for times about an individual’s safety law enforcement will be asked to and situations when should immediately be reported to local law enforcement. This is one reason For example, it support or take over an assessment. why including a school resource offcer or local law might be necessary to have law enforcement speak with on the Team is benefcial. a student’s parent or guardian, search a student’s person enforcement offcer or possessions, or collect additional information about the student or situation outside the school community during the assessment. 2 Data 2 Report 2016-2017. (n.d.). Safe2Tell Colorado. Retrieved on June 20, 2018, from https://safe2tell.org/sites/default/files/u18/End%20of%20 Year%202016-2017%20Data2Report.pdf Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 6

11 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Step 5. Establish assessment procedures Teams need to establish clearly defned processes and procedures to guide their assessments. Note that any safety concerns should be immediately addressed before the procedures described below take place. When followed, the procedures should allow the Team to form an accurate picture of the student’s thinking, behavior, and circumstances to inform the Team’s assessment and identify appropriate interventions. • to keep track of when reports Maintain documentation Examine online social media pages, conduct • come in; the information that is gathered; when, where, interviews, review class assignments, and consider and how it was obtained; who was interviewed; the Team searching the student’s locker or desk. behaviors and circumstances of the student of concern; academic, disciplinary, members should also review and the intervention strategies taken. Documentation that may be law enforcement, and other formal records requirements, such as forms and templates, should be related to the student. When reviewing school records, included in the plan to ensure standardization across be sure to determine whether the student has been the cases. subject of previous reports to school offcials, especially if the student has a history of engaging in other concerning An effective • Use a community systems approach. or threatening behaviors. Also determine if the student approach for gathering information to assess a received any intervention or supports and whether identify the sources that student of concern is to those were benefcial or successful. The Team may may have information on the student’s actions and be able to draw on information from previous incidents circumstances. This involves identifying the persons and interventions to address the current situation for the with whom the student has a relationship or frequently student. This factor further emphasizes the importance interacts and the that may organizations or platforms of the Team’s documentation to ensure the accuracy and be familiar with the student’s behaviors. Students exist availability of information regarding prior contacts the in more than one system and they come in contact with student of concern may have had with the Team. people beyond their classmates and teachers at school. Gathering information from multiple sources ensures that Teams are identifying concerning behaviors, accurately assessing the student’s risks and needs, and providing the appropriate interventions, supports, and resources. Family Law Enforcement Social Judicial Teachers Neighbors Student Classmates Online Hobbies Employment 7

12 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 5 continued. Key Themes to Guide Establish assessment procedures Threat Assessment Investigations U.S. Secret Service research identifed the following Build rapport that can facilitate information-gathering • themes to explore when conducting a threat By demonstrating that their goal is to support efforts. assessment investigation: individuals who may be struggling, while ensuring that the student and the school are safe, Teams may be better able • The student’s motives and goals to build a positive relationship with a student of concern and the student’s parents or guardians. When Teams have • Concerning, unusual, or threatening established this rapport, parents or guardians may be more communications likely to share their own concerns, and the student may be more forthcoming about frustrations, needs, goals, or plans. • Inappropriate interest in weapons, school shooters, mass attacks, or other types of violence • Evaluate the student’s concerning behaviors and • Access to weapons communications in the context of his/her age and social Some students’ behaviors and emotional development. • Stressful events, such as setbacks, challenges, or might seem unusual or maladaptive, but may be normal losses for adolescent behavior or in the context of a mental or developmental disorder. To ensure that these students are • Impact of emotional and developmental issues being accurately assessed, collect information from diverse • Evidence of desperation, hopelessness, or sources, including the reporting party, the student of concern, suicidal thoughts and gestures classmates, teammates, teachers, and friends. Consider whether those outside of their immediate circle, such as • Whether the student views violence as an option neighbors or community groups, may be in a position to share to solve problems information regarding observed behaviors. • Whether others are concerned about the student’s statements or behaviors • Capacity to carry out an attack • Evidence of planning for an attack • Consistency between the student’s statements and actions • Protective factors such as positive or prosocial infuences and events An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model 8

13 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Investigative themes Motives Teams should organize their information gathering around Students may have a variety of motives that place them at several themes or areas pertaining to the student’s risk for engaging in harmful behavior, whether to themselves actions, circumstances, and any other relevant or others. If you can discover the student’s motivation for threat assessment factors. Addressing each theme is engaging in the concerning behavior that brought him/her necessary for a complete assessment and may uncover to the attention of the Team, then you can understand more other avenues of inquiry to help determine whether the about the student’s goals. The Team should also assess how student is at risk for engaging in violence. Using the far the student may be willing to go to achieve these goals, themes to identify where the student might be struggling and what or who may be a potential target. Understanding will help the Team identify the most appropriate resources. motive further allows the Team to develop management Keep in mind, there is no need to wait until the Team strategies that can direct the student away from violent has completed all interviews or addressed every theme choices. before taking action. As soon as an area for intervention is identifed, suitable management strategies should be On February 12, 2016, a 15-year-old female student fatally enacted. shot her girlfriend while they were sitting under a covered patio at their high school and then fatally shot herself. In several notes found after the incident, the student explained that she carried out her attack because her girlfriend had recently confessed that she was contemplating ending their relationship. She also wrote in her notes that she hated who she was and that learning her girlfriend wanted to end their relationship “destabilized” her. 9

14 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 5 continued. Investigative themes Establish assessment procedures, Communications Look for concerning, unusual, bizarre, threatening, or On October 24, 2014, a 15-year-old male student opened violent communications the student made. The student’s fre on fve of his closest friends as they were having lunch communications may reveal grievances held about in the school cafeteria, killing four of them, and then fatally certain issues or a possible intended target. They shot himself. In the months prior to his attack, the student may allude to violent intentions or warn others to stay sent a number of text messages to his ex-girlfriend away from school at a certain time. They may reveal indicating he was considering suicide and posted information relevant to the other investigative themes by videos on Snapchat that mentioned suicide. Two people making reference to feelings of hopelessness or suicide, confronted the student about his concerning statements, a fascination with violence, interest in weapons, or other but he told them he was just joking or having a bad inappropriate interests. These statements might be made moment. The student also posted a number of Twitter in person to classmates, teammates, or friends; in writing messages indicating he was having trouble overcoming a on assignments or tests; and/or via social media, text setback, posting in one Tweet, “It breaks me... It actually messages, or photo or video-sharing sites. does... I know it seems like I’m sweating it off... But I’m not.. And I never will be able to...” Earlier NTAC research that examined attacks on schools found that not every student directly threatened their target prior to attack, but in a majority of incidents (81%), another person was aware of what the student 3 It is important for Teams to was thinking or planning. not made threatening remember that a student who has statements may still be at risk for engaging in violence. Whether or not the student made a direct threat should not be the lone indicator of concern. 3 U.S Secret Service and U.S Department of Education. (May 2002). Threat assessment in schools: A guide to managing threatening situations and to creating safe school climates. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from https://www. secretservice.gov/data/protection/ntac/ssi_guide.pdf. Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 10

15 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Weapons access Inappropriate interests In addition to determining whether the student has any Gather information about whether the student has shown inappropriate or heightened interest in concerning an inappropriate interests or fascination with weapons, the topics such as school attacks or attackers, mass Team should assess whether the student has access to These interests weapons. Because many school attackers used frearms attacks, or other types of violence. acquired from their homes, consider whether the family might appear in the student’s communications, the books the student reads, the movies the student watches, or keeps weapons at home or if there is a relative or friend context of the the activities the student enjoys. The who has weapons. Sometimes parents who keep weapons at home incorrectly assume that their children are unaware student’s interests is an important factor to consider. For example, a student’s interest in weapons may not of where they are stored or how to access them. If there are weapons at home, the Team should determine if they be concerning if the student is a hunter or is on the school’s rife team, with no evidence of an inappropriate are stored appropriately and if the student knows how to or unhealthy fxation on weapons. In other situations, use them or has done so in the past. The Team should the context surrounding a student’s interest in weapons also remember that frearms are not the only weapons to could be of concern. For example, if a student is fxated be concerned about. Even though many school attackers have used frearms in carrying out their attacks, explosives, on past school shooters or discusses what frearm would be best to use in a mass attack. incendiary devices, bladed weapons, or combinations of these weapons have been used in past attacks. On October 21, 2013, a 12-year-old male student On April 29, 2014, a 17-year-old male student was arrested took a handgun to his middle school and opened fre, injuring two classmates and killing a teacher. He after a concerned citizen called police when she observed then fatally shot himself. In the months leading up to the student acting suspiciously around a storage unit and thought he might be attempting to break into one. his attack, the student conducted numerous internet Responding offcers discovered bomb-making material searches for violent material and content, including and other weapons inside the unit the student had asked a “Top 10 evil children,” “Super Columbine Massacre Role friend’s mother to rent for him. The student later confessed Playing Game,” ”shoot,” “guns,” “bullets,” “revenge,” to an extensive plot that involved murdering his parents “murder,” “school shootings,” and “violent game.” He and sister, setting a diversionary fre, planting explosive also searched for music videos of and songs about devices at his high school, targeting students and the school shootings. On his cell phone, the student had saved photos of violent war scenes and images of the school resource offcer for harm, and engaging in gunfre Columbine High School shooters. He also enjoyed with responding police offcers before committing suicide. playing video games, doing so for several hours each The student admitted that at some point he became night. Of his 69 video games, 47 were frst-person fascinated with chemicals, explosives, and weapons and began researching how to build his own explosive devices. shooter or similar games. He created his own channel on YouTube to post videos that showed him detonating his devices and included a written commentary about each video. 11

16 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 5 continued. Establish assessment procedures, Investigative themes Stressors setbacks, losses, All students face stressors such as Stressors can occur in all areas of a student’s and other challenges as part of their lives. While many including at school with coursework, friendships, life, students are resilient and can overcome these situations, romantic relationships, or teammates; or outside of school for some, these stressors may become overwhelming and with parents, siblings, or at jobs. Many students can ultimately infuence their decision to carry out an attack experience bullying, a stressor which can take place at school. Gather information on stressors the student is in person at school or online at home. Teams should experiencing, how the student is coping with them, and intervene and prevent bullying and cyberbullying of a whether there are supportive friends or family who can student who has been brought to their attention. More help the student overcome them. Assess whether the broadly, administrators should work to address any student experienced stressors in the past that are still concerns regarding bullying school-wide and ensure their having an effect, such as a move to a new school, and school has a safe climate for all students. whether there might be additional setbacks or losses in the near future, like a relationship that might be ending. On November 12, 2008, a 15-year-old female student fatally shot a classmate while students were changing classes. The attacker fed to a restaurant across the street from her high school and phoned 9-1-1 to turn herself in to police. Prior to her attack, she faced a number of stressors in her life, mostly outside of school. As an infant, her college-aged parents abandoned her and she was raised largely by her grandparents. At the age of six years, she was sexually molested by a family member; and at age 12, she was raped by an uncle. She did have some contact with her birth parents, but her mother was reportedly abusive and suffered from severe mental illness; and her father began serving a 25-year prison sentence for murder around the time she was 14 years old. At her high school, she was lonely, appeared to struggle to connect with others, and had behavior problems. An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model 12

17 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Desperation or despair Emotional and developmental issues hopeless, desperate, Assess whether the student feels Anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other mental Determine if the student has had health issues are important factors to consider when or out of options. thoughts about or engaged in behaviors that would conducting an assessment. Keep in mind that students with emotional issues or developmental disorders might indicate the student’s desperation. The Team should behave in a way that is maladaptive, but might not determine whether the student has felt this way before, how the student managed those feelings then, and be concerning or threatening because the behavior is a product of their diagnosis. Behaviors exhibited whether those same resources for coping are available by a student with a diagnosed disorder need to be to the student now. Consider whether the student has tried addressing the problems in a positive way, but was evaluated in the context of that diagnosis and the student’s known baseline of behavior. unable to resolve them, thereby leading to a sense of If the student hopelessness about their situation. is experiencing feelings related to a diagnosable mental illness, such as depression, then the Team needs to On February 1, 1997, a 16-year-old male student used consider the effect of these feelings on their behaviors when assessing the student’s risk of engaging in harm to a shotgun to fre on fellow students in the common area of his high school prior to the start of the school day. self or others. He killed one student and the principal and injured two additional students. Prior to his attack, the student had On January 18, 1993, a 17-year-old male student fatally been bullied and teased by several classmates, including shot his English teacher and a school custodian at the student killed. At some point prior to his attack, the his high school and held classmates hostage before surrendering to police. The student had recently turned student asked the principal and dean of students for help in a poem to his English teacher for an assignment that with the bullying he was experiencing. They intervened, discussed his thoughts of committing homicide or suicide. and though the situation improved temporarily, the teasing The student had failed in at least three prior suicide and bullying soon resumed. The student asked the principal for help a second time, but this time the principal attempts, including one the night before his attack. Although the student entered a plea of guilty but mentally advised him to just ignore the bullies. The student tried, ill at trial, ultimately he was convicted and sentenced to but felt like the victimization worsened and he began to life in prison. feel hopeless that it would ever end. After his attack, the student explained that he felt as though he had asked the “proper people” for assistance, but he was denied help, so he decided that bringing a gun to school would scare his tormentors and get them to leave him alone. When some friends learned of the plan, they told him that he had to use the weapon to shoot people or the bullying would continue. The student decided he would have to fre the weapon at people in order to end his torment. 13

18 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 5 continued. Establish assessment procedures, Investigative themes Violence as an option Concerned others Some students, who are feeling hopeless and out of In previous incidents, many students made statements or options, may think violence is the only way to solve a engaged in behaviors prior to their attacks that elicited concern from others in their lives. Assess whether parents, problem or settle a grievance. The Team should look friends, classmates, teachers, or others who know the to see whether the student thinks violence is acceptable or necessary, if the student has used violence in the student are worried about the student and whether they past to address problems, and whether the student has have taken any actions in response to their concerns. thought of alternative ways to address the grievances. Gather information on the specifc behaviors that caused The Team should also assess whether peers, or others, worry or fear. These could include behaviors that may have elicited concerns about the safety of the student or support and encourage the student to use violence as a such as unusual, bizarre or threatening statements; others, means to an end. If possible, connect the student with intimidating or aggressive acts; indications of planning for more positive, prosocial role models who discourage an attack; suicidal ideations or gestures; or a fxation on violence and identify more acceptable ways to solve problems. Other behaviors that elicit concern a specifc target. may not necessarily be indicative of violence, but do require that the Team assess the behavior and provide On March 25, 2011, a 15-year-old male student fred two appropriate supports. Examples of these behaviors include shots at a classmate, wounding him in the abdomen. alcohol or drug use; behavior changes related to academic After fring the weapon, the student fed the scene and dropped the gun in a feld. He was arrested about an performance, social habits, mood, or physical appearance; conficts with others; and withdrawal or isolation. hour after the incident. The student had a history of being involved in numerous physical altercations with other students throughout his 6th, 7th, and 8th grade On December 7, 2017, a 21-year-old male shot and school years. Additionally, he tried to start a fght with killed two students at his former high school before the targeted victim, and once threatened him with fatally shooting himself. Prior to his attack, a number of a chain. About three weeks prior to the attack, the individuals had expressed concern regarding his behaviors student threatened to blow up the school. Days prior to and statements. Sometime in 2012, other users of an online the incident, the student, who was angry at the targeted forum were concerned after the student made threats about attacking his school. In March 2016, federal investigators victim, told a friend that he planned to kill him. met with the student after he made comments in an online chat room about wanting to fnd an inexpensive assault rife he could use for a mass shooting. At the time, a family member told the investigators that the student was troubled and liked to make outlandish statements. At some point prior to his attack, the student posted content supportive of the attacks at Columbine High School in an online forum, upsetting many of the forum’s users. Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 14

19 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Capacity to carry out an attack Planning Determine whether the student’s thinking and behavior Targeted attacks at school are rarely sudden or is organized enough to plan and execute an attack and acts of violence. The Team should assess impulsive whether the student has the resources to carry it out. whether the student has made specifc plans to harm and could be Planning does not need to be elaborate the school. The student might create lists of individuals as simple as taking a weapon from home and inficting or groups targeted for violence, or research tactics and harm on classmates at school. Other student attackers materials needed to carry out the attack. The student may may develop more complex and lengthier plans. At the conduct surveillance, draw maps of the planned location, very least, carrying out an attack requires that the student and test security responses at school. He/she may write has access to a weapon and the ability to get that weapon out detailed steps and rehearse some aspects of a plan, to school undetected. such as getting to the school, the timing of the attack, or whether to attempt escape, be captured, or commit On January 14, 2014, a 12-year-old male student used suicide. The student may also acquire, manufacture, or a shotgun with a sawed-off stock to fre three rounds of practice with a weapon. birdshot at fellow students gathered in their middle school gymnasium prior to the start of the school day. He injured On December 13, 2013, an 18-year-old male student two students and a security guard before surrendering entered his high school with a shotgun, a large knife, to a teacher. The student began talking about his attack bandoliers with ammunition, and a number of homemade plans as early as November 2013, saying that he wanted Molotov cocktails. He opened fre on two female students, to fre a weapon in the air to make people take him fatally shooting one. He then entered the school library seriously. According to reports, his father owned a pistol and opened fre on a faculty member there, who was able and a shotgun. In January 2014, the student wrote in to escape through a back door. The student then set fre his diary that he wanted to use his father’s pistol for his to a shelf of books in the library with one of his Molotov attack, but was unable to locate it so he used the shotgun cocktails before fatally shooting himself. The student instead. The morning of the attack, the student was spent three months planning his attack, starting a diary driven to school by a family member so he hid his shotgun on his computer in September 2013 to detail his plans. in a duffel bag, claiming it contained items for his gym There he wrote that he wanted to choose a day during class. fnal exams so that the largest number of students would be present. Over the next few months, he planned how and where he would enter the school, including where he would initiate the attack, and purchased the frearm and ammunition he would use. On the morning of the incident, the student purchased a four-pack of glass soda bottles and used these to create the Molotov cocktails he deployed during the attack. 15

20 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 5 continued. Investigative themes Establish assessment procedures, (JROTC) and was fascinated with guns and the military. Consistency Despite his outward appearance, some time prior to his attack, he wrote in a journal about his plans to kill his corroborate the student’s statements The Team should classmates and spoke harshly about “sinners,” which to determine that they are consistent with the student’s included people who smoked cigarettes and took the actions and behaviors and with what other people say Lord’s name in vain. about the student. When inconsistencies are identifed, the Team should then try to determine why that is the Protective factors case. For example, the student might say that he/she is handling a romantic break-up well, but posts on social A thorough threat assessment requires media indicate the student is struggling to move on, and understanding the full picture of a friends report that the student is more upset or angry about the break-up than reported. Determine whether student’s behaviors and environment, the inconsistency is because the student is deliberately which also includes accounting for the positive and hiding something or if the inconsistency stems from prosocial infuences on the student’s life. The Team should identify factors that may restore hope to a student another underlying issue. For example, a depressed who feels defeated, desperate, or in a situation that is student may claim that they are isolated, even if they impossible to overcome. This includes determining regularly go out with a large group of students. If the inconsistency is deliberate, it is important to determine positive, trusting relationship whether the student has a This could be a teacher, coach, why the student feels the need to conceal his/her actions. with an adult at school. guidance counselor, administrator, nurse, resource offcer, The concealment may be as simple as a fear of facing or janitor. A trusted adult at school in whom the student punishment for some other inappropriate behavior, or it can confde and who will listen without judgment can may be related to hidden plans for a violent act. help direct a student toward resources, supports, and options to overcome setbacks. Learn who the student’s On June 10, 2014, a 15-year-old male student brought a rife, handgun, nine magazines with ammunition, and friends are at school and if the student feels emotionally a knife into the boy’s locker room at his high school. He connected to other students. A student may need help had taken the weapons from his brother’s locked gun developing friendships that they can rely on for support. case in his home. Once at school, he changed into all black clothing, and donned a helmet, face mask, and a Positive situational or personal factors might help to deter a student from engaging in negative or harmful non-ballistic vest. He then fatally shot one student and wounded a teacher. After being confronted by staff and behaviors. Changes in a student’s life, such as having law enforcement, the student fatally shot himself in a a new romantic relationship or becoming a member of a team or club, might discourage any plan to engage in bathroom. Prior to his attack, the student was an ordained deacon at his church and was appointed president of the violence. The Team could also use activities or groups the deacon’s quorum. He participated in youth night at the student wants to take part in as motivation for the student to engage in positive and constructive behaviors, such as church, Boy Scouts, youth basketball, and track. Friends described him as friendly and outgoing. He was also a attending class, completing assignments, and adhering to member of the Junior Reserve Offcers’ Training Corps a conduct or behavior code. An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model 16

21 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Step 6. Develop risk management options • Sometimes management involves suspension or expulsion Once the Team has completed a thorough assessment from school. When this is necessary, Teams and school evaluate whether the student is at of the student, it can administrators should consider how it might affect their risk for self-harm or harming someone else at school. ability to monitor the student. Removing a student Concern may be heightened if the student is struggling from school does not eliminate the risk to the school emotionally, having trouble overcoming setbacks or losses, Several school attacks have been carried community. feeling hopeless, preoccupied with others who engaged out by former students who had been removed from the in violence to solve problems, or has access to weapons. school or aged out of their former school. A suspended Remember, the Team is not attempting to predict with or expelled student might become isolated from positive certainty if violence will happen. Instead, evaluate the peer interactions or supportive adult relationships presence of factors that indicate violence might be a at school. Teams should develop strategies to stay develop risk management possibility. Teams can then connected to the suspended or expelled student to strategies that reduce the student’s risk for engaging in determine whether the student’s situation is deteriorating and make positive outcomes for the student more violence or the behaviors of concern are escalating so that they likely. can respond appropriately. • Each student who comes to the Team’s attention will Management plans should remain in place until the Team require an individualized management plan. The is no longer concerned about the student or the risk for resources and supports the student needs will differ violence. This is accomplished by addressing the following depending on the information gathered during the basic elements that can reduce the likelihood a student will assessment. engage in violence and provide support and resources for those in need. • Often, the Team will determine that the student is not requires currently at risk for engaging in violence, but Notify law enforcement immediately if a student is • monitoring or is in need of guidance to cope with thinking about or planning to engage in violence, so losses, develop resiliency to overcome setbacks, or learn that they may assist in managing the situation. more appropriate strategies to manage emotions. Make efforts to address the safety of any potential • could take the form • Resources to assist the student targets by altering or improving security procedures for of peer support programs or therapeutic counseling to schools or individuals and providing guidance on how to enhance social learning or emotional competency, life avoid the student of concern. skills classes, tutoring in specifc academic subjects, or mental health care. Most programs and supports will be available within the school, but the Team may need to also access community resources to assist with managing the student. 17

22 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 6 continued. Develop risk management options by In one recent case, a school principal described a situation • Create a situation that is less prone to violence when a student was suspended from his high school for asking the family or law enforcement to block the student’s access to weapons, while also connecting the student to drug possession. Soon after, a fellow student discovered positive, prosocial models of behavior. Another option a concerning video he posted online and notifed school may involve removing the student from campus for a personnel. A school administrator met with the student and period of time, while maintaining a relationship with the his father. While the administrator had no immediate safety concerns about the student, he was aware that the student student and the student’s family. was experiencing a number of stressors. The student’s Every parents were divorced and he was living with his father, who • Remove or redirect the student’s motive. was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was receiving student’s motive will be different, and motives can be redirected in a variety of ways. These strategies may frequent medical treatments. His mother was dealing with include bullying prevention efforts or offering counseling a mental illness, was a source of embarrassment to him, for a student experiencing a personal setback. and was unlikely to be able to serve as his guardian after his father’s passing. He was also recently removed from • by providing resources the wrestling team, and due to his suspension, banned Reduce the effect of stressors and supports that help the student manage and overcome from attending the matches. While suspended, the student negative events, setbacks, and challenges. was required to attend tutoring sessions in lieu of school, but was unable to make his sessions because he was transporting his father to medical appointments. The administrator reported that he would have alerted their school resource offcer and local sheriff’s offce if he had safety concerns about the student, but instead the school worked with community services to provide access to resources and supports, including transportation services for his father to his medical appointments so the student could attend tutoring sessions, and counseling and support services that would assist the student after his father’s passing. The school also worked with the student and his father to develop a plan for the student to return to campus and remain on track to graduate. Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 18

23 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Step 7. Create and promote safe school climates and help students A crucial component of preventing targeted violence at Break down “codes of silence” • schools relies on developing positive school climates built feel empowered to come forward and share concerns on a culture of safety, respect, trust, and social and and problems with a trusted adult. At one school, Teachers and staff in safe school emotional support. administrators used a faculty meeting to identify students environments support diversity, encourage communication who lacked a solid connection with an adult at school. between faculty and students, intervene in conficts, and They provided faculty with a roster of enrolled students work to prevent teasing and bullying. Students in safe and asked them to place a mark next to students with share concerns with whom they had a warm relationship. For students without school climates feel empowered to a mark next to their name, popular, well-liked teachers without feeling ashamed or facing the stigma of adults, and staff were asked to reach out and develop positive being labeled a “snitch.” Administrators can take action to develop and sustain safe school climates. connections with them. • Help students feel connected to the school, their • Help students feel more connected to their classmates and the school. One teacher asked her elementary classmates, and teachers. This is an important frst students to write down names of classmates they wanted step to creating school climates that are supportive, respectful, and safe. to sit next to. If a student’s name did not appear on Encourage teachers and staff to by anyone’s list, the teacher placed that student’s desk next build positive, trusting relationships with students actively listening to students and taking an interest in what to a friendly or outgoing classmate in an effort to help the they say. student develop friendships. This effort could be easily adapted with middle or high school-aged students by asking students to identify one or two classmates they would like to be partnered with for a project and assigning any student not named on a list to be partnered with a friendly or outgoing classmate. • Adults can also help students identify clubs or teams at they can join or encourage them to start their own school special interest group. 19

24 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 7 continued. Create and promote safe school climates Schools can also support positive school climates by implementing school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) programs. These programs actively teach students what appropriate behavior looks like in a variety of settings, including in the classroom, with their friends, or among adults. Teachers frequently praise prosocial behavior they observe and encourage students’ good behavior. PBIS can improve academic outcomes for schools and has been shown to reduce the rates of school 4 bullying. While teachers and staff can foster relationships and connectedness among the student body, students in sustaining safe school themselves have a role to play climates. They should be actively engaged in their schools, encouraged to reach out to classmates who might be lonely or isolated, and empowered to intervene safely when they witness gossiping, teasing, and bullying. Following an averted attack at a high school, the school principal sent a note home to students and parents about the incident. He used the note to explain what had been reported, the steps the school had taken to avert the attack, and praise for the students who had alerted school offcials about concerning and threatening statements they saw online. In the note, he also asked parents to encourage their students to speak up if they ever felt concerned about a classmate’s behavior, explaining that students’ “cooperation [with school offcials] is important for everybody’s safety.” 4 Lee, A.M.I. (n.d.). PBIS: How schools can support positive behavior. Understood.org. Retrieved on April 5, 2018, from https://www.understood. org/en/learning-attention-issues/treatments-approaches/educational- strategies/pbis-how-schools-support-positive-behavior . Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 20

25 CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN “ School safety Step 8. is everyone’s Conduct training for all stakeholders responsibility.” The fnal component of a comprehensive targeted Faculty, staff, and administrators. Every adult at school violence prevention plan is to identify training needs for all needs training related to threat assessment and violence stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and administrators; including administrative, maintenance, prevention, students; parents; and school resource offcers or local law Training can include custodial, and food service staff. enforcement. School safety is everyone’s responsibility. who should be notifed when concerning or threatening Anyone who could come forward with concerning information is discovered, what information should be information or who might be involved in the assessment brought forward, how school staff might learn about process should be provided with training. Effective training information, and the steps school staff can take to safely addresses the goals and steps of an assessment, the type intervene with concerning or threatening situations. of information that should be brought forward, and how Providing training on other topics, such as suicide individuals can report their concerns. It might be benefcial awareness and prevention, confict resolution, mental health, for staff and students to hear presentations, see videos, and and developmental disabilities, might also allow school role-play scenarios so they have a thorough understanding faculty, staff, and administrators to foster positive school of their responsibilities and the steps they can take to keep climates. their school safe. Each audience will require a slightly different message, but some stakeholders may also Students need training on the threat assessment Students. beneft from attending training together, such as parents process, where to report concerns, and what information and students, or school faculty/staff and law enforcement they should bring forward. Students also need assurances personnel. When developing a training program, consider that they can make a report to the Team or another trusted how frequently each stakeholder will receive training, and anonymously, followed- that their information will be adult whether to vary the delivery method of trainings. Also, each up on, and will be kept confdential. Training can also audience may have unique needs. educate students about other actionable steps they can take to cultivate a safe school climate, including ways they can safely intervene with bullying, gossip, or name-calling. Messaging should demonstrate to students that there is a difference between “snitching,” “ratting,” or “tattling,” big and seeking help. While snitching is informing on someone for personal gain, here, students are encouraged to come forward when they are worried about a friend who is struggling, or when they are trying to keep someone from getting hurt. Remind students that if they are concerned about a classmate or friend, they need to keep speaking out until that person gets the help they need. Finally, maintaining a safe school climate includes providing students with training or lessons to acquire skills and abilities to manage emotions, resolve conficts, cope with stress, seek help, and engage in positive social interactions. 21

26 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Step 8 continued. Conduct training for all stakeholders Parents. agencies have encouraged offcers to “adopt a school,” Parents should also be trained on the threat stopping by the school to greet and become familiar with assessment process at their child’s school and their role in that process. They should be clear on who to call, when, students and teachers, eating lunch on campus, or doing and what information they should be ready to provide. paperwork in an offce at the school. Parents can also beneft from training that helps them recognize when children and teenagers may be in emotional Like parents and teachers, local law enforcement and trouble or feeling socially isolated. Training can also reduce school resource offcers need to be aware of the school’s the stigma around mental, emotional, or developmental threat assessment process and their own responsibilities once a threat is identifed. Training for law enforcement and issues and provide information on available resources and when they should seek professional assistance. school resource offcers should also provide familiarity with emergency response procedures the school has in place Not Law enforcement and school resource offcers. and the layout of the campus. Offcers and school staff might beneft from attending training together so that all every school will have a school resource offcer, but schools develop relationships with local law enforcement can still parties are aware of the point at which local law enforcement agencies and personnel. Schools can encourage local should be involved in an investigation. This would also allow offcers to get to know administrators, teachers, counselors, offcers to co-teach classes at the school, serve as coaches or assistant coaches of sports teams, and work with parents facilities and maintenance personnel, and other school staff. It is much easier to work through an emergency situation and teachers at after-school events. In some communities when schools and law enforcement are already familiar with without school resource offcers, local law enforcement each other and their procedures. An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model 22

27 “ Everyone has a CONCLUSION role... ” Everyone has a role in preventing school violence Despite having a comprehensive targeted violence and creating safe school climates. The prevention plan in place, and despite a school and Team’s threat assessment procedures detailed in this guide are best efforts at prevention, incidents of targeted school develop and violence may still occur. It is critical to an important component of school safety and security efforts implement emergency response plans and procedures and have been determined to be the best-practice in the prevention of targeted school and provide training on them to all stakeholders. The violence. The model highlights that students can U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends engage in a continuum of concerning behaviors and that emergency response plans be developed with input 5 from local law enforcement and frst responders. communications, the vast majority of which may not For example, procedures should be developed for reporting be threatening or violent. Nevertheless, it encourages emergencies, evacuation procedures and routes, use of schools to set a low threshold when identifying emergency notifcation systems, and information regarding students who might be engaging in unusual behavior, or experiencing distress, so that early interventions local hospitals or trauma centers. Law enforcement and can be applied to reduce the risk of violence or other frst responders should be apprised of these plans and procedures and know how to implement them. negative outcomes. Threat Assessment Active Incident Response 5 U.S. Department Homeland Security. (October 2008). Active Shooter: How to Respond. Homeland Security Active Shooter Preparedness. Retrieved on May 29, 2018, from https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/active_ shooter_booklet.pdf . Interagency Security Committee. (November 2015). Planning and Response to an Active Shooter: An Interagency Security Committee Policy and Best Practices Guide. Homeland Security Active Shooter Preparedness. Retrieved on May 29, 2018, from https://www. dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/isc-planning-response-active- shooter-guide-non-fouo-nov-2015-508.pdf . 23

28 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS This section provides information and links to resources that can help schools create threat assessment teams, establish central reporting mechanisms, train stakeholders on assessment procedures, and promote safe school climates. It also provides links to resources related to emergency planning, responses to violence, and mental health. The U.S. Secret Service provides the listed non-government resources as a public service only. The U.S. government neither endorses nor guarantees in any way the external organizations, services, advice, or products included in this list. Furthermore, the U.S. government neither controls nor guarantees the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of the information 6 contained in non-government websites. Threat assessment THE NATIONAL THREAT ASSESSMENT CENTER (NTAC). Provides links to best-practices in threat assessment and the prevention of targeted violence, including resources on conducting threat assessments in K-12 schools, building positive school climates, and requesting training from NTAC personnel. https://www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac/ Provides information and links to research on NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS (NASP). conducting threat assessments in K-12 schools. https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/threat-assessment-at- school/threat-assessment-for-school-administrators-and-crisis-teams THE NATIONAL BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTION TEAM ASSOCIATION (NABITA). Provides education, resources, and supports to campus behavioral intervention team personnel and those who work to provide caring interventions of at-risk individuals. https://nabita.org/ THE VIRGINIA STUDENT THREAT ASSESSMENT MODEL. Provides guidelines and resources for schools to conduct threat assessments of students, including links to research on threat assessment. https://curry.virginia.edu/faculty-research/centers-labs-projects/research-labs/youth-violence-project/virginia-student- threat 6 The provided links were active at the time of the publication of this guide. Organizations may have updated or changed their links since this guide was published. An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model 24

29 School safety and violence prevention Provides resources, reports, and information about school safety and NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (NEA). violence prevention. http://www.nea.org/home/16364.htm INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE, YOUTH FOCUSED POLICING (YFP). Provides information, resources, and training to enable law enforcement to work and intervene with children, teens, and young adults. Resources focus on reducing crimes and victimization among youth populations. http://www.iacpyouth.org/ Provides training, information, and resources NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS (NASRO). to school-based law enforcement offcers. https://nasro.org/ NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AND CORRECTIONS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, SCHOOL SAFETY RESOURCES. Provides links to resources and information, including training material, computer software, and videos for law enforcement offcers who work in K-12 schools. https://www.justnet.org/school_safety.html CENTER FOR THE STUDY AND PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE (CSPV). Conducts research and provides support to professionals implementing evidence-based programs that promote positive youth development, reduce problem behaviors, and prevent violence and other antisocial behaviors. https://www.colorado.edu/cspv/ THE TEXAS SCHOOL SAFETY CENTER (TXSSC). Provides information and resources related to bullying, school violence, drugs and tobacco, technology safety, and emergency management. https://txssc.txstate.edu/ SCHOOL SAFETY ADVOCACY COUNCIL (SSAC). Provides school safety training and services to school districts, law enforcement organizations, and communities. Provides links to grant opportunities, training courses, and conferences. http://www.schoolsafety911.org/index.html 25

30 UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE Emergency management and response to school violence READINESS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR SCHOOLS (REMS) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER. National clearing-house for school safety information. Provides resources, training, and information related to violence prevention, response, and recovery from incidents of school violence. https://rems.ed.gov/ Provides strategies to consider when creating GUIDE FOR PREVENTING AND RESPONDING TO SCHOOL VIOLENCE. safe learning environments and considers the full range of possible violence that can occur in schools. http://www.theiacp.org/portals/0/pdfs/schoolviolence2.pdf Creating safe and positive school climates Resource guide developed by the U.S. RESOURCE GUIDE FOR IMPROVING SCHOOL CLIMATE AND DISCIPLINE. Department of Education for schools to create nurturing, positive, and safe environments to help boost student achievement and success. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/school-discipline/guiding-principles.pdf SCHOOLS SECURITY TASK FORCE, WHAT MAKES SCHOOLS SAFE? Publication by the New Jersey School Boards Association to provide guidance and direction on school safety issues. The fnal report provides recommendations and resources to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of students. https://www.njsba.org/news-information/research/school-security-task-force/ POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS AND SUPPORTS (PBIS). Clearinghouse and technical assistance center that supports schools, school districts, and state agencies to create and implement a multi-tiered approach to social, emotional, and behavioral support. Provides links to resources, information, and training on PBIS tools and strategies. https://www.pbis.org/ Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence 26

31 ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS Prevention and intervention of bullying Provides information from government agencies on bullying, cyberbullying, risk factors, responses to STOPBULLYING.GOV. bullying, and prevention efforts. https://www.stopbullying.gov/ Provides resources regarding bullying prevention and creating positive school climates. NATIONAL PTA. https://www.pta.org/home/programs/Connect-for-RespectBullying YOUTH VIOLENCE PROJECT, BULLYING RESOURCES. Provides an aggregate of online and in-print resources for parents, teachers, and students to intervene, prevent, and respond to bullying. https://curry.virginia.edu/faculty-research/centers-labs-projects/research-labs/youth-violence-project/bullying/bullying-0 Mental health NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS (NAMI). NAMI is dedicated to assisting those affected by mental illness and their families. They provide information specifc to conditions and symptoms experienced by teens and young adults, as well as resources for education and advocacy for all those who suffer from mental health symptoms. https://www.nami.org/ https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/Teens-and-Young-Adults NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH (NIMH). Provides links to resources for assistance with mental health and mental illness, information related to mental health symptoms and disorders, and outreach to various stakeholders. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID. Provides resources for free and low-cost training on mental health, symptoms of mental illness, and intervening with those with mental health symptoms. https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/ 27

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