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Enhancing School Safety - A Guide to Prevent Targeted School Violence

When incidents of school violence occur, they leave a profound and lasting impact on the school, the community, and our nation as a whole. Ensuring safe environments for elementary and secondary school students, educators, administrators, and others is essential.

The tragic events in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas in 2018 were grim reminders of the ongoing need to work toward prevention of future school attacks. As such, the Department of Homeland Security along with many others from across government, law enforcement and communities nationwide have redoubled their efforts to enhancing school safety and security.

As part of the Department’s efforts, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) developed this operational guide to provide fundamental direction on how to prevent incidents of targeted school violence (situations when a student specifically selects a school or a member of the school community for harm). It provides actionable steps that schools can take to develop a comprehensive targeted violence prevention plan, with tips and real-life experiences to aid them through this process:

  1. Establish a multidisciplinary threat assessment team
  2. Define prohibited and concerning behaviors
  3. Create a central reporting mechanism
  4. Determine the threshold for law enforcement intervention
  5. Establish assessment procedures
  6. Develop risk management options
  7. Create and promote safe school climates
  8. Conduct training for all stakeholders

The content in this guide is based on information developed by the U.S. Secret Service, Protective Intelligence and Assessment Division, National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC).

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