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Student Behavioral Threat Assessment: A Violence Prevention Initiative Presented by: Mr. Ronald Ellis Sandra Ellis, Ph.D. School & Campus Security Training.

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Presentation on theme: "Student Behavioral Threat Assessment: A Violence Prevention Initiative Presented by: Mr. Ronald Ellis Sandra Ellis, Ph.D. School & Campus Security Training."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student Behavioral Threat Assessment: A Violence Prevention Initiative Presented by: Mr. Ronald Ellis Sandra Ellis, Ph.D. School & Campus Security Training Program Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System Illinois Terrorism Task Force Illinois Emergency Management Agency

2 Planning for Incidents Involving Violence –Ft. Hood, TX –Newtown, Conn. –Aurora Colorado Theatre –Northern Illinois Univ. –Virginia Tech. –Bailey, Colorado

3 Early Warning Research 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 Ideation Planning Acquisition Implementation

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.

6 Precipitory Events  Catalyst…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 investigation FBI, National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime

7 Precipitating Events

8 Facts About Serious School Violence Most consider, plan, and prepare before engaging in violent behavior; Most discuss their plans with others before the attack. Perpetrators of serious campus violence don’t “just snap.” These incidents are not impulsive or random.

9 Top Findings of Study: School Based Attacks 1. Attacks are rarely sudden impulsive acts 2. In 81% of cases, others knew about the attackers idea/plan 3. Most attackers did not threaten their victims directly prior to the attack 4. There is no accurate profile of a “school shooter” 5. Most attackers had seriously concerned others in their lives prior to the attack US Secret Service/US Dept. of Education, Safe School Initiative

10 Key Findings—School Based Attacks (continued) Key Findings—School Based Attacks (continued) 6. Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant loss or failure 7. Many felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others. (Over 50% motive was revenge) 8. Most had access to weapons 9. In many cases, others (students) were involved in some way 10. Most are suicidal at the point of desperation 11. Most attacks were over before police arrived (lasting only 3-4 minutes) PREVENTION IS THE KEY! US 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.”

12 K-12 School Threat Assessment  Recommended by U.S. Departments of Education, Homeland Security, HHS, FEMA, Justice, FBI and Secret Service  Form 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 content Anger problems Fascination with weapons & accoutrements Boasting & practicing fighting, combat Loner Injustice Collector Suicidal ideation, depression Narcissism

14 Red Flags (continued) Non-compliance & disciplinary problems Imitation of other murderers Interest in previous school shootings Victim/martyr self-concept Aberrant or troubling behavior Violence & cruelty Lack of empathy Inability 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 Study Why 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 1. School climate and a connection to an adult matters. 2. School staff training on how to properly respond to students who provide respond to students who provide information about a threatening situation, information about a threatening situation, as well as actual threats, is important. as well as actual threats, is important.

18 What is School Threat Assessment ? 1 Identify students of concern 2 Gather information/investigate 3 Assess student and situation 4 Manage the student / situation A systematic process that is designed to: Slide 18 © SIGMA Threat Management Associates (2013)

19 Threat Assessment Process FactsConclusionsStrategies Threat assessment is fact-based and deductive: Slide 19 © SIGMA Threat Management Associates (2013)

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.

21 Behavioral Threat Assessment Student Behavioral Threat Assessment (K-12) AA#990 Advanced Student Behavioral Threat Assessment (K-12) Forming a Campus Threat Assessment Team Advanced Campus Threat Assessment

22 Bomb Threat Planning Understanding & Planning for School Bomb Incidents (K-12) Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings (DHS courses)

23 To schedule the Student Behavioral Threat Assessment Course contact Ronald Ellis, Co-Director SCSTP or (217) Dr. Sandra Ellis, Co-Director SCSTP (217)


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