Presentation on theme: "Student Behavioral Threat Assessment: A Violence Prevention Initiative"— Presentation transcript:
1 Student Behavioral Threat Assessment: A Violence Prevention Initiative Presented by:Mr. Ronald EllisSandra Ellis, Ph.D.No matter where it occurs, a school shooting can have a tremendous impact across the globe, prompting questions about what schools are doing to keep their students, faculty and staff safe. Planned school attacks have been prevented when schools have learned of threats and moved quickly to gather information, assess the information, and intervene when necessary. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your “Call to Duty” Each of you are must help your school take a more proactive and preventive stance to protect your students, faculty, staff, and visitors from harm.School & Campus Security Training ProgramIllinois Law Enforcement Alarm SystemIllinois Terrorism Task ForceIllinois Emergency Management Agency
2 Planning for Incidents Involving Violence Ft. Hood, TXNewtown, Conn.Aurora Colorado TheatreNorthern Illinois Univ.Virginia Tech.Bailey, ColoradoSchool violence has come into public attention after deadly multiple shootings in such places as Littleton, Colorado; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Red Lake, Minnesota; Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania; Bailey, Colorado; Cleveland, Ohio; Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. The possibility of school shootings has become an issue for urban, rural, and suburban communities alike. Physical conflicts, threats and harassment are still common. Many students and teachers are more fearful than ever before when they enter the doors of their school. This climate of fear makes it more difficult for schools to provide positive learning environments.Source: Guide for Preventing & Responding to School Violence 2nd Edition, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, 2009
3 Early WarningResearch has shown that perpetrators of targeted acts of violence engage in both covert and overt troubling behaviors preceding their attacks.School faculty and staff need to learn pre-attack warning signs and indicators that may develop into an extreme violent incident or active shooter.
4 Pathway to Violence Implementation Acquisition Planning Ideation This graphic illustrates the pathway to violence that these attackers typically take:They start with an idea to do harm, develop a plan to carry it out, then acquire the means or capacity to do harm --- meaning they get weapons and ammunition and get those to where they want to carry out the attack – and then to implementing the attack itself.This graphic is also depicted as a stair steps to illustrate that at each progressive point along the pathway, there is potentially more information that can be uncovered and more behavior that can be observed – that would give away the person’s ideas and plans for harm. When we talk later about the threat assessment process and about determining whether someone poses a threat, essentially we will be trying to determine whether the person is on this pathway toward violence – and if so, where are they on the pathway, and where can we intervene to move them off of the pathway.
5 Key Points about Violence Violence is the product of an interaction among four factors:S The subject who may take violent action;T Vulnerabilities of the target of such actions;E An environment that facilitates or permits violence, or does not discourage it; and,P Precipitating events that may trigger reactions.Incidents of violence typically arise from an intersection of several factors, including:The “subject” or individual of concern,The “target” of the individual’s animosity or grievances,An “environment” where violence may be encouraged or dared – or at least where it is not discouraged, and“Precipitating events” or triggers that prompt a violent reaction.In many cases we have seen precipitating events such as a major loss or multiple losses – including the death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, personal humiliation, etc. When we talk about the threat assessment process later on, we will talk about gathering information in all of these areas to find out what is going on with the person of concern and their current situation.
6 Precipitory EventsCatalyst…final straw with underlying theme of loss of face, humiliation, injured pride or shame.May be in the form of a bullying incident, loss of romantic relationship, administrative or disciplinary investigationFBI, National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime
8 Facts About Serious School Violence Perpetrators of serious campus violencedon’t “just snap.”These incidents are not impulsive or random.Most consider, plan, and prepare before engaging in violent behavior;Most discuss their plans with others before the attack.In research on school shootings and workplace shootings – as well as analyses of recent campus shootings – we see some commonalities among this type of violence – what the researchers call “targeted violence.”One of the first facts about these attacks is that they are rarely impulsive; these attackers don’t “just snap.” Even though the media has often described these attacks as occurring “out of the blue,” in reality they do not.Instead, the attackers think about and plan their attacks in advance – sometimes a few days in advance, sometimes over a year in advance. Moreover, they typically tell other people about their plans for harm beforehand.Now just to be clear, I’m not talking about threatening a target. In fact, very few attackers directed threats to their target before their attacks. But they often told OTHER people – friends, co-workers, online buddies, etc. – what they were thinking about and planning to do.
9 Top Findings of Study: School Based Attacks Attacks are rarely sudden impulsive actsIn 81% of cases, others knew about the attackers idea/planMost attackers did not threaten their victims directly prior to the attackThere is no accurate profile of a “school shooter”Most attackers had seriously concerned others in their lives prior to the attackTop Ten Key Findings of US Secret Service Safe School Initiative.Attacks are rarely sudden impulsive acts.93% of cases the act was planned; 51% had the idea for at least a month.In 81% of cases, others knew about the attackers idea/plan98% experienced some type of loss prior to attack (precipitating event). Lacked coping skills; 83% had behaviors that suggested difficulty in coping.59% of cases, more than 1 person knew; 93% of cases a schoolmate or sibling knew.Most attackers did not directly threaten their victims directly prior to the attackThere is no accurate useful profile of a “school shooter”Most attackers had seriously concerned others in their lives prior to the attack93% engaged in behavior that caused others to be concerned; 88% at least one ADULT was concerned.US Secret Service/US Dept. of Education, Safe School Initiative
10 Key Findings—School Based Attacks (continued) Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant loss or failureMany felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others. (Over 50% motive was revenge)Most had access to weaponsIn many cases, others (students) were involved in some wayMost are suicidal at the point of desperationMost attacks were over before police arrived (lasting only 3-4 minutes)PREVENTION IS THE KEY!Key Findings- USSS (School Shooter Study)6. Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant loss or failure98% experienced some type of loss prior to attack (precipitating event). Lacked coping skills; 83% had behaviors that suggested difficulty in coping.Many felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others. (Over 50% motive was revenge)71% felt bullied, persecuted or injured prior to attack. In several cases the bullying was long-standing and severe.8. Most had access to weapons63% had a known history of weapon use. 68% acquired the guns used in the attack from their own home or that of a relative.78% had a history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts prior to attack. 61% had documented history of feeling depressed or desperate.Most were stopped by school administrators, educators or other students, or by stopping on their own (suicide).9. In many cases, others (students) were involved in some way44% were encouraged or influenced by others to engage in the attacks.10. Most attacks were over before police arrived (most lasted only 3-4 minutes)PREVENTION IS THE KEYUS Secret Service/US Dept. of Education, Safe School Initiative
11 “The only real way of preventing school violence is to get into the heads and hearts of faculty, staff and students.”This quote is from the joint study of K-12 school shootings that was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education.
12 K-12 School Threat Assessment Recommended by U.S. Departments of Education, Homeland Security, HHS, FEMA, Justice, FBI and Secret ServiceForm multidisciplinary threat assessment teams.Train schools how to identify, investigate, assess and intervene in cases of threats or other concerning behavior.
13 Warning Signs: Indicators & Red Flags Violent fantasy contentAnger problemsFascination with weapons & accoutrementsBoasting & practicing fighting, combatLonerInjustice CollectorSuicidal ideation, depressionNarcissism
14 Red Flags (continued) Non-compliance & disciplinary problems Imitation of other murderersInterest in previous school shootingsVictim/martyr self-conceptAberrant or troubling behaviorViolence & crueltyLack of empathyInability to express/experience joy/pleasure
15 “Bystander Study” U.S. Secret Service May 2004 School climate affected whether bystanders came forward with information related to the threats.Explored the factors that influenced bystanders on why they did or did not report to adults/staff what they knew.
16 Bystander StudyWhy didn’t someone report concerning or troubling behavior?We increasingly try to suggest to young people that you can save lives.School shooters themselves would often say, “I wish somebody had told on us.”
17 Bystander Study- Findings School climate and a connection to an adult matters.School staff training on how to properlyrespond to students who provideinformation about a threatening situation,as well as actual threats, is important.Dr. William Pollack- The most important finding was School Climate and a connection to an Adult Matters.People would come forward and give information to someone and know that information wouldn’t be used punitivelyThat the person you were concerned about would be talked to, understood and if it turned out they really had a prop problem, they would get help before they hurt themselves or others …people would come forward
20 Implications for Prevention Many school targeted attacks can be prevented.Information about a person’s ideas and plans for violence can be observed or discovered before harm can occur.But information available is likely to be scattered and fragmented.Key is to act quickly upon an initial report of concern, see who else has a piece of the puzzle, then pull all the information together to see what picture emerges.The take-home message from all of this is that many school and campus shootings are preventable – if we can uncover someone’s ideas and plans for violence in advance.The challenge is that while there are usually pieces of the puzzle available, the information is likely to be scattered and fragmented.If we can act quickly when we first learn about someone who has raised concern, we can figure out who might have some relevant information – a piece of the puzzle – and start assembling the facts.
21 Behavioral Threat Assessment Student Behavioral Threat Assessment (K-12) AA#990Advanced Student Behavioral Threat Assessment (K-12)Forming a Campus Threat Assessment TeamAdvanced Campus Threat AssessmentWe provide training for school, law enforcement, and mental health personnel on how to identify, investigate, assess, and manage students (as well as faculty, staff, and others) who make threats or engage in troubling or concerning behavior. Our threat assessment training is based on research and best practices in the area of school behavioral threat assessment, including the model developed from the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education’s landmark study of school shootings. This model has been used as a foundation for successful threat assessment programs in many Illinois schools and colleges.
22 Bomb Threat PlanningUnderstanding & Planning for School Bomb Incidents (K-12)Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings (DHS courses)
23 To schedule the Student Behavioral Threat Assessment Course contactRonald Ellis, Co-Director SCSTPor(217)Dr. Sandra Ellis, Co-Director SCSTP(217)
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