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Student Threat Assessments

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Student threat and behavioral assessment are proven methods of early risk detection and relevant intervention endorsed by a long list of organi-zations, including the FBI, U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, U.S. Secret Service, and the National Association of School Psychologists.

Successful threat and risk assessment processes in schools will improve health and safety and reduce risk and liability.

Effective student threat assessment should:

  • Prevent school violence
  • Reduce the number of incidents
  • Foster safer learning environments for students and staff

While there are different methods for student threat assessment, each method has the common goal of detecting risks, stopping the pathway to violence, and coordinating support.

Threat Assessment Challenges

There are several challenges when conducting student threat assessments, the most common of which include:

  • Analog resources
  • Increasing volume
  • Need for collaboration and coordination

Conducting thorough threat assessments can be a manual, complex process. Most models endorse a process that starts by evaluating and diagnosing the threat as either transient or substantive. Based on the severity of the threat, the process includes notifying affected parties, potentially contacting law enforcement and other outside resources, conducting interviews with peripheral persons, and documenting the findings and outcomes.

In schools, most assessments are conducted by teams, which means collaboration and coordination is vital to conducting a successful assessment. Many assessments are done with paper-based forms, notes and reports. An individual assessment can be work-intensive, requiring hours of time investigating the threat, documenting the findings and reporting the outcomes. A large volume of assessments can make it challenging for a school threat assessment team to manage multiple cases over a school year.

Schools are facing a significant increase in assessments performed. In Jefferson County, Colorado, 43 threat assessments were conducted in the 2007-08 school; that number surpassed 800 in the 2018-2019 school year. Denver Public Schools saw a 767% increase in threat assessments in the past decade. Aurora Schools experienced a 573% increase in just three years. Even small districts are seeing an increase — Cortez school officials assessed 20 threats in 2018-2019 school year, up from two in the 2013-2014 year. (All figures courtesy of The Colorado Sun.)

With schools facing exponential growth in the number of assessments that are performed each year, the number of interviews conducted, investigations documented, and reports filed can be overwhelming for a school threat assessment team. Efficiencies will be critical to ensure assessments are performed thoroughly and successfully moving forward.

Technology to Support Student Threat Assessment

Technology can help your student threat assessment teams with collaboration, threat report collection, investigations processes, information collection, and law enforcement coordination, allowing your teams to manage their investigations and related workflows more efficiently.

Furthermore, technology allows your student threat assessment team to easily develop a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan that aligns to your schools’ processes and procedures for providing student threat assessments while also:

  • Reducing the time it takes to investigate threats.
  • Improving communication and collaboration during a threat investigation.
  • Increasing their capacity to thoroughly manage every threat that gets reported.
  • Enhancing coordination with local law enforcement and outside resources.
  • Ensuring the privacy of all threat assessment data.

Our Student Threat Assessment Manager streamlines the student threat assessment process even further by allowing you to:

  • Build a central threat reporting repository, where threats and tips can be submitted, via phone, web, email, or smartphone application.
  • Alert student threat assessment team members instantly to ensure all incoming reports are responded to quickly.
  • Assign tasks and responsibilities in real-time to team members.
  • Monitor the investigation process with real-time checklists and reporting that can be easily exported and shared with key stakeholders.
  • Collaborate with student threat assessment team members via two-way communication to easily collaborate interview information
  • Ensure all data is encrypted at rest, in transit, and on the device.

Make the student threat assessment process more collaborative, efficient, and secure at your district and schools by learning more about our Student Threat Assessment Manager today.

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