The U.S. Secret Service released last week a new operational guide meant to help schools better prepare for dangerous situations and act as a tool to help end the current widespread nature of targeted violence in U.S. schools.
The guide, Enhancing School Safety Using A Threat Assessment Model, focuses on three areas: identifying those students felt to be problematic, assessing their risk for actual violent response and identifying strategies for intervening and diminishing those risks. The Secret Service created the National Threat Assessment Center in 1998 to research national threat trends while training law enforcement and first responders in ways to prevent and handle them. Following the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the Secret Service partnered with the Department of Education to study 37 incidents of targeted school violence, leading to the establishment of threat assessment programs in schools.
“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?” Secret Service Director R. D. Alles said. “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.”
The new report has been released online and made publicly available, while physical copies will also be distributed to schools nationwide. The Secret Service also said that work is currently underway for an updated comprehensive study, which they expect to be completed in the spring of 2019.