The U.S. Secret Service has released a guide to help schools prevent violence on their campuses.
The 32-page document, "Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model," provides step-by-step instructions on assessing potential threats and intervening before a situation escalates into violence.
"The guide provides schools and communities with a framework to identify students of concern, assess their risk for engaging in violence, and identify intervention strategies to mitigate the risk," the Secret Service says in a news release.
The guide leads school officials through eight steps for creating a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan:
•Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team.
•Define prohibited and concerning behaviors.
•Create a central reporting mechanism.
•Determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention.
•Establish assessment procedures.
•Develop risk management options.
•Create and promote safe school climates.
•Conduct training for all stakeholders.
"It is critical to develop and implement emergency response plans and procedures and provide training on them to all stakeholders," the guide recommends. "The threat assessment procedures detailed in this guide...have been determined to be the best practice in the prevention of targeted school violence."
The Secret Service's commitment to assisting school in establishing threat assessment programs goes back nearly 20 years. Following the April 1999 shooting attack by two students at Columbine High School in Colorado, the agency worked with the U.S. Department of Education to develop the Safe Schools Initiative, which studied incidents of targeted school violence on elementary and secondary campuses and explored ways to prevent them.
The school shooting deaths earlier this year in Parkland, Fla., prompted the Secret Service to produce the latest guide.
“The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting tragedy served as the impetus to go beyond our past work and go in depth regarding the how—how do we solve this epidemic?” says Secret Service Director R.D. Alles.