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Secret Service Issues 8-Step Guide to Prevent Targeted School Violence

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In the backdrop of increased incidents of targeted violence in schools and colleges across the country, the United States Secret Service has come up with an operational guide for preventing targeted school violence.

In its guidebook, Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model, the emphasis has been put on establishing threat assessment process in the schools to enhance proactive targeted violence prevention efforts

The Secret Service has prepared an eight-step comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan which includes establishing a multidisciplinary threat assessment team, defining prohibitive behaviors, creating a central reporting mechanism, determining the threshold for law enforcement intervention, establishing assessment procedures to developing risk management options, promoting safe school climates and training for all the stakeholders.

It notes that schools that set up programs in advance for assessing threats, rather than trying to establish them in a crisis, do better at identifying students of concern, assessing their risk for violence, and finding ways to reduce the threat.

The Service has further emphasized that the schools consult with legal representatives to ensure that their plans comply with any applicable state and federal law or regulation.

The National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA), a non-profit association headquartered in Pennsylvania while welcoming the recommendations of the Secret Service has said that the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) suggested by Secret Service directly mirrors elements of NaBITA model which it has been continually evolving and improving since 2009.

“Gun control is such a hot button topic right now, and it seems to be a non-starter at this point, federally. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be effective at preventing school shootings. I think every college, pK-12 school and community can use the BIT model to identify leakage and engage the mechanisms of effective prevention and intervention,” said NaBITA founder Brett A. Sokolow.

“We’ve shown it with hundreds of cases at schools using the NaBITA model that have prevented suicides, shootings, and other acts of violence. If Congress is looking for a bipartisan prevention solution, perhaps it should mandate BITs in every college, pK-12 school, and community. Several states, such as Illinois and Virginia have already mandated teams, and it’s working,” he added.

The guide was prepared by the staff of the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) and released earlier this month.