Schools Learn Threat Assessment

Local school officials and public safety officers train to handle student threats

Statesville, N.C., September 10, 2018 – On Friday, September 7, 2018, Partners hosted 170 school superintendents, counselors, staff, and Department of Public Safety officers to train for violence prevention.

“The speaker and the training material are phenomenal and so very much needed,” said Teri Putnam, Lead Behavior and Mental Health Liaison at Cleveland County Schools. “We are building a mental health support framework and this hands-on approach with school teams is the missing piece. This is exciting and I’m proud of Partners for sponsoring the event.”

The presenter, Dr. Sebastian Kaplan, walked participants through the Guidelines for Responding to Student Threats of Violence—a threat assessment training based on the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines. The training was developed by Dewey G. Cornell, Ph. D., with the help of Dr. Kaplan and colleagues at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.

170 School officials and NCDPS officers at a threat assessment training led by Dr. Sebastian Kaplan, at the Statesville Civic Center on Friday, September 7, 2018

The training focuses on prevention through assessment and intervention, rather than prediction, as the key to reducing risk factors. Each school should create threat assessment teams with comprehensive plans to allow decisions to be made based on facts of each specific situation. Each team should include the staff and roles necessary to meet local needs.

Doctor Kaplan discussed the mistake of preparing for school violence rather than working to prevent it. He highlighted typical roles team members should play and explained each step of the threat assessment process. Training attendees discussed the typical types of threats seen in school settings, patterns of behavior for students at risk of becoming violent, and the three pathways to violence.