Presentation on theme: "Threat Assessment in the School Setting"— Presentation transcript:
1 Threat Assessment in the School Setting Nancy Rappaport, MDHarvard Medical School
2 Background Data on School Violence School characteristics that are associated with higher rates of school violence are large school size, problematic leadership and presence of gangs in the school.Source: Kaufman, P., Chen, X., Choy, S.P., et al. (2000), Indicators of school crime and safety, US Department of Education (NCES ) and US Department of Justice (NCJ ): Washington, DC.
3 Background Data on School Violence Children and adolescents are three times as likely to be victims of serious violent crime away from school than they are on school grounds.Source: Kaufman P, Chen X, Choy SP, et al. (2000), Indicators of school crime and safety, US Department of Education (NCES ) and US Department of Justice (NCJ ): Washington, DC.
4 Student Victimization Statistics PercentGradePercentage of students ages who reported criminal victimization at school during the previous 6 monthsSource: U.S. Department of Education (National Center for Education Statistics), U.S. Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics), Indicators of School Crime and Safety 1999.
5 Most Common Types of School Violence Interpersonal disputesAssaults without weaponsAssaults between (male) studentsBefore and after school, during transitions between classes, during lunch
6 How Is School Violence Measured? Self-Report SurveysStudies do not report using response reliability or validity checksPublic Health ModelSource: Cornell DG, Loper AB (1998), Assessment of violence and other high-risk behaviors with a school survey. School Psychology Review 27:
7 Ambiguous Questions“In the past thirty days, how many times have you brought a weapon to school [gun, knife or club]?” (YRBS)Multiple weaponsChoice of time periodLevel of severitySource: Kann L, Kinchen SA, Williams BI, et al. (1998), Youth risk behavior surveillance - United States, Journal of School Health, 68,
8 School Violence Statistics In a 2001 survey of high school students, 17.4% had carried a weapon to school during the 30 days preceding the survey.Source: Grunbaum J, Kann L, Kinchen SA, et al. (2001), Youth risk behavior surveillance - United States, Surveillance Summaries, 28 June 2002.
9 Expulsions for Bringing Firearms to School 57% involved high school students33% involved junior/middle school students10% involved elementary school studentsGun-Free Schools Act Report: School Year , U.S. Department of Education, October 2002
11 “Battered Teacher Syndrome” DepressionElevated Blood PressureInterrupted SleepHeadachesSource: Bloch, AM (1976), The battered teacher. Today’s Education, 66:58-62.
12 School violence is an important part of the daily lives of children in schools… It affects where they walk, how they dress, where they go and who their friends are. As long as teachers treat violence at arms’ length, as something that is someone else’s problem, they will continue to neglect the opportunity to intervene in a crucial aspect of the children’s lives. By ignoring school violence, the name-calling, the shoving, the fighting, the harassment, they are condoning it. children see teachers walking by, pretending not to notice, and they learn that the way we treat others, the way we interact on the street or in the playground, is nobody’s business but our own. Teachers must talk about violence, they must recognize it, examine it, dissect it, and let children see and understand its secrets and its sources. Without this examination it remains an ugly secret that society cannot understand or control.Source: Epp JR, Watkinson AM (1997), Systemic violence in education: Broken promise. Albany: State University of New York Press.
13 Crimes Against Teachers On average, each year from 1993 to 1997 there were 131,400 violent crimes against teachers at school, as reported by both public and private schools. This translates into a rate of 31 crimes for every 1,000 teachers and a rate of 53 thefts for every 1,000 teachers.Source: U.S. Department of Education (National Center for Education Statistics), U.S. Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics), Indicators of School Crime and Safety 1999.
15 Multiple-Victim Homicide Incidents at School Number of IncidentsSource: 1999 Annual Report on School Safety. The School Associated Violent Deaths Study, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Education, 2000.
16 A 14-year old girl in Pennsylvania spoke honestly during a class discussion of the Colombine tragedy. She stated that she could understand how a person could be driven by hurtful others to a point of wanting to explode and hurt someone. She was quickly escorted to the principal’s office, physically searched for weapons, and then suspended from school.Source: National Public Radio (6 May 1999), All things considered. Transcript by Burrelle’s Information Services, Livingston, NY
17 Characteristics of Students Exhibiting Violent Behavior Typically Violent StudentOften from families in turmoil with a history of abuse and neglectFailing academicallyStruggling with impulsive behavior, poor frustration tolerance and limited concentration“Classroom Avenger”Premeditated assailant involved with shooting multiple studentsOften comes from rural or suburban areas and different family backgrounds and academic achievement, with little prior involvement with the juvenile justice systemSource: Twemlow SW, Fonagy P, Sacco FC, O’Toole ME, (2002), Premeditated mass shootings in schools: Threat assessment. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 41:
18 Guidelines for Assessment High-level threats include direct, specific threats where the student has concrete plans to execute his threatsMedium-level threats can be concrete with descriptive detail but lack discernable preparation plans.Low-level threats are those threats that seem exaggerated; the student has inconsistent details of a planSource: Fein RA, Vossekuil B, Pollack WS, et al. (2002), Threat Assessment in schools: A guide to managing threatening situations and to creating safe school climates. United States Secret Service and United States Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
19 Classification of Risks Individual traits describe a wide range of behaviors such as low frustration tolerance, poor coping skills, recent rejection, and signs of depressionFamily dynamics highlight difficult parent-child relationships including parents denying their child’s troubled behavior and providing minimal supervisionSource: Twemlow, S.W., Fonagy, P., Sacco, F.C., O’Toole, M.E. (2002), Premeditated mass shootings in schools: Threat assessment. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry, 41: ; Browne, J.A., Losen, D.J., Wald, J. (2001), Zero tolerance: Unfair, with little recourse. New Directions for Youth Development, 92:73-99.
20 Classification of Risks, ctd. School problems are teasing, and a school climate that encourages a code of silence and reinforces bullying behaviorCommunity factors may inhibit or stimulate aggression depending on the availability of guns, immersion in deviant peer groups, and easy access to drugs and alcohol
21 Assessment Guidelines Has there been any communication that suggests ideas or intent to attack?Has the student shown deviant fantasies of revenge?Has the student engaged in attack-related behaviors?How organized is the student’s thinking and behavior?Is the student experiencing hopelessness, desperation and/or despair?
22 Assessment Guidelines (ctd.) Does the student have a trusting relationship with at least one responsible adult?Does the student see violence as an acceptable-or desirable-way to solve problems?Is the student’s conversation and “story” consistent with his or her actions?Are other people concerned about the student’s potential for violence?What circumstances might affect the likelihood of an attack?
23 Zero Tolerance: Can Suspension and Expulsion Keep Schools Safe? Skiba RJ, Noam GG (eds.), New Directions for Youth Development: Theory Practice Research, Volume 92. Winter 2001, Jossey-Bass Press.
24 Currently the majority of public schools adopt a “zero tolerance” stance for any kind of violent behavior with no research to demonstrate the efficacy of these policiesPolitical solutionSource: Editor’s Notes: New Directions for Youth Development, 92:1-6.
25 There is a disproportionate representation of minority students and students with special needs being suspended or expelledSource: Skiba RJ, Peterson RL (1999), The dark side of zero tolerance: Can punishment lead to safe schools? Phi Delta Kappan, 80:
26 Many students recommended for expulsion from schools do not represent danger to other students or staff and are a heterogeneous groupSource: Morrison GM, D’Incau B (1997), The web of zero tolerance: Characteristics of students who are recommended for expulsion from school. Education and Treatment of Children, 20(3):
27 Socialized delinquent group (31/158) Troubled group Disconnected groupSocialized delinquent group (31/158)Troubled group“First offense” groupSource: Morrison GM, D’Incau B. (2000), Developmental and service trajectories for students with disabilities recommended for expulsion from school. Exceptional Children,66:
28 Federally Mandated Special Education Protection More than ten days of suspension in one school yearExpulsion proceedingsSource: Morrison GM, D’Incau B. (2000), Developmental and service trajectories for students with disabilities recommended for expulsion from school. Exceptional Children,66:
29 Is the offense a “manifestation” of their disabling condition? Determination of their appropriate placementSource: Morrison GM, D’Incau B. (2000), Developmental and service trajectories for students with disabilities recommended for expulsion from school. Exceptional Children,66:
30 Five-Step Case Evaluation Consultation Model Informed consentReferral informationContact with school and other professionalsStudent and parent interviewsReport and feedback
31 Conditions of Psychiatric Evaluation Office of Special EducationSpecial Education Services eligibilityNOT confidential
32 Selected Specific Behavior Rating Scales Source: Connor, D.F. (2002), Aggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents: Research and Treatment. New York: Guilford.
33 New York Teacher Rating Scale (NYTRS; LS Miller et al., 1995) 6-14 Scale/ Reference:AggressionAge RangeConduct DomainsInformantsNew York Teacher Rating Scale (NYTRS; LS Miller et al., 1995)6-14Defiance, Physical Aggression, Delinquent Aggression, Peer RelationsTeachersPredatory-Affective Aggression Questionnaire (Vitiello et al., 1990)10-18Predatory Aggression, Affective AggressionOther (Staff, Peers)Proactive-Reactive Aggression Scale (Dodge & Coie, 1987)5-18Reactive Aggression, Proactive AggressionParents, Teachers, Other
34 Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth Source: Bartel P, Borum R, Forth A (2002), Structured Assessment for Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY). Consultation Edition.
35 Children’s Aggression Scale – Teacher Version (CAS-T) Verbal aggressionAggression against objects and animalsProvoked physical aggressionUnprovoked physical aggressionUse of weaponsReliabilitySource: Halperin JM, McKay K, Grayson RH, Newcorn JH. (2003), Reliability, validity, and preliminary normative data for the Children’s Aggression Scale – Teacher Version. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 42:
37 Case One Individual Factors Family Factors School & Peer Factors TreatmentSituational FactorsAttack-Related Behaviors
38 Myth of the “Teenage Werewolf” Popular media often insinuates that there are minimal warning signs for violent teenagers. In contrast, violent students often have histories of low frustration tolerance, impulsivity and angry outbursts. Adolescents who are at risk often externalize their anger and are less subtle about their agitation.
39 Treatment System GapsPractical LimitationsCrisis ResponseLag Time
40 Coordinated System of Care Access to a psychiatric emergency room, inpatient unit, outpatient servicesShared ResponsibilitySchool Setting
41 Multisystemic Response FlexibilityAdolescents with conduct problemsDepartment of Mental Health (DMH) diagnosisSource: Mattison RE, Spirito A (1993), Current consultation needs of school systems. In: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Consultation in Hospitals, Schools, and Courts, ed. B Nurcombe, GK Fritz RE Mattison & A Spirito. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp ; Henggeler SW, Melton GB, Smith LA (1992), Family preservation using multisystemic therapy: An effective alternative to incarcerating serious juvenile offenders. J Consulting Clin Psychol, 60:
42 Case Two Situational Factors Attack-Related Behaviors Family Factors School & Peer Factors
43 Clinical Prediction of Risk Very little research on the accuracy of clinical prediction of violence in adolescentsRisk factors, resilience factors, potential triggersGrisso: “I do not know whether this youth will engage in violent behavior, but the risk that it may happen is (greater than, similar to, less than) the risk posed by youths in general in (the relevant setting).”Source: Comer JP (1997), Waiting for a Miracle: Why Schools Can’t Solve Our Problems and How We Can. New York: Dutton. Grisso T (1998), Forensic Evaluation of Juveniles. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press.
44 The importance of advocacy in modifying the disciplinary action Source: Morrison GM, D’Incau B. (2000), Developmental and service trajectories for students with disabilities recommended for expulsion from school. Exceptional Children,66:
45 There is a key distinction between predicting violence and emphasizing preventing violence by suggesting appropriate interventions.Source: Sewell K W, Mendelsohn M (2000), Profiling potentially violent youth: Statistical and conceptual problems. Children’s Services: Social Policy, Research, and Practice, 3:
46 Enhancing Protective Factors Child FactorsFamily FactorsExtrafamilial FactorsEasy TemperamentHigher IQInternal locus of controlHigh self-esteemAcademic competenceSocial competenceCompetence in activitiesGood parent-child relationsExternal supportsFriendshipsAvailability of OpportunitiesSource: Connor DF (2002), Aggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and Adolescents: Research and Treatment. New York: Guilford.
47 Case Three Individual Factors Family Factors School & Situational FactorsSystemic Assessment
48 Systemic Violence Contextually embedded School climate Institutional practices that adversely affect individualsSource: Furlong MJ, Morrison G (2000), The school in school violence: Definitions and facts. Journal of Emotional & Behavioral Disorders, 8:71-82.
49 Schools can be an arena where cultural differences are amplified. Source: Delpit LD (1995), Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom. New York: New Press. Lightfoot SL (1978), Worlds Apart: Relationships Between Families and Schools. Basic Books: New York.
50 Time Somebody Told Me Quantedius Hall, “Son of Reality,” Age 12 That I am lovely, good and realThat I am Beautiful insideIf they only knewHow that would make me feel.That My mind is quick, sharpand full of witThat I should keep on tryingand never quit.How they loved and needed meHow my smile is filled with hopeAnd my spirit sets them freeHow my eyes shine, full of lightHow good they feel when they hug me tight.So, I had a talk with myselfJust me, nobody else‘cause it was timeSomebody Told Me.Source: Franco, B (ed.), You Hear Me? Poems and writing by teenage boys. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
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