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Secret Service calls on schools to build threat teams, safety plans

The Secret Service today published a school safety guide, encouraging schools to develop “threat assessment teams” and “targeted violence prevention plans” in the wake of continued school shootings in recent years.

The guide first calls for creation of threat assessment teams that should include “personnel from a variety of disciplines including teachers, guidance counselors, coaches, school resource officers, mental health professionals, and school administrators.”

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Those teams are then urged to meet to define concerning and prohibited behaviors, create a central reporting mechanism, determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention, and establish assessment procedures.

When assessing a threat, the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center called for school teams to look at issues ranging from weapons access, to a person’s “desperation or despair” and their capacity to carry out an attack.

In addition to stopping a potential attack, the plan also calls for creation of “risk management options” in schools and said school personnel should get formal training and work to promote safe school climates.

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Since 2015, each Ohio school has been required to file a safety plan with the state that “takes into account all threats and hazards for a particular school. The plan must address ways the administrator will address those threats and a protocol for responding to those threats.”

Individual schools take a wide range of approaches to school safety, including use of school resource officers from local police departments, school climate training called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and in some cases, creating armed response teams that would react in the case of a school attacker.

PANEL: For school safety, people, training outweigh technology

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