U.S. Secret Service Releases Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence

Homeland Security
Homeland Security
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On July 12, 2018, the United States Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center released another tool in support of the effort to end the prevalence of targeted violence effecting the Nation, the world, and most importantly – our schools.  ENHANCING SCHOOL SAFETY USING A THREAT ASSESSMENT MODEL – An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence, was developed to provide fundamental direction on how to prevent incidents of targeted school 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 that risk.

The Secret Service created the National Threat Assessment Center in 1998 to focus on research, training and threat assessments related to various forms of targeted violence. Following the tragedy at Columbine High School in April 1999, the Secret Service partnered with the Department of Education to study 37 incidents of targeted violence that occurred at elementary and secondary schools.  The goal of that study, the Safe School Initiative (SSI), was to gather and analyze accurate and useful information about the thinking and behavior of students who commit acts of violence.  The findings of the SSI led to the establishment of threat assessment programs in schools – something the Secret Service remains fervently committed to. 

“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?” said Secret Service Director R. D. “Tex” Alles.  “The report truly is an operational guide and I am confident that if embraced and followed by our Nation’s communities and schools, that we will together reduce the occurrence of violence and the tragic loss of life.”

To ensure no school goes overlooked, the new guide is available to the public and for download at DHS.gov/school-safety-and-security and www.SecretService.gov.  The Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center will also be printing and distributing copies to schools across the country.

This report is not the end of the Secret Service’s work to prevent school shootings and targeted violence.  Work is currently underway to release an updated comprehensive study with an anticipated completion date in the spring of 2019.