School Business Affairs March 2019 SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS | MARCH 2019 37 LEGAL ISSUES STEP 1: Establish a multi-disciplinary threat assess- ment team. Threat assessments are best performed by multi-disciplinary teams that include highly trained professionals from a variety of different disciplines (e.g., teachers, administrators, school resource offi- cers, school psychologists, guidance counselors). The team will conduct the threat assessments, implement crisis prevention when needed, assess the student’s potential for violence, and develop intervention and management strategies to mitigate that risk. STEP 2: Define behaviors to include those that are prohibitive and concerning. Prohibited behaviors should trigger immediate intervention. These behav- iors can include, but are not limited to, intimidation, threats, harassment, bullying, and carrying weap- ons on school property. Concerning behaviors may indicate the need for a threat assessment. These behaviors can vary in nature, but may include sudden or dramatic changes in mood and appearance or a decline in school performance. There should be a low threshold of concern so that the plan addresses a con- tinuum of concerning behaviors, not just direct threats or behaviors indicative of planning for an attack. FAST FACT: In recent surveys, 34% of youth reported being cyberbullied in their lifetime, and bullying has been cited as a contributing factor in cases of extreme retaliation, including school shootings. STEP 3: Establish and provide training on a central reporting system. This can include an online form on the school website, email address, phone number, smartphone application, or other mechanism. It is also important to ensure the reporting tool is contin- ually monitored, each report is followed up, and that it allows individuals to report anonymously. Programs and policies must be put into place that promote a climate that ensures those reporting feel safe in their concern and break down the code of silence. STEP 4: Determine the threshold for law enforce- ment intervention. Although the majority of cases will be handled using school or community resources (e.g., mentoring, counseling, tutoring, and social or family services), some will require law enforcement, especially if there is a safety risk. STEP 5: Establish replicable threat assessment pro- cedures. These procedures include practices for maintaining documentation, identifying sources of information, reviewing records, and conducting interviews with an emphasis on rapport building. Procedures should include the following investi- gative themes to guide the assessment process: Motive, Communications (unusual or concerning), Inappropriate Interests, Weapons Access, Stressors, Emotional and Developmental Issues, Desperation or Despair, Violence as an Option, Concerned Others, Capacity to Organize an Attack, Pre-Attack Planning Behaviors, Consistency Between Students’ Actions and Statements , and Protective Factors. FAST FACT: It is estimated that depictions of violence are present in 90% of movies, 68% of video games, 60% of television shows, and 15% of music videos. STEP 6: Develop risk management options. Threat assessment teams should develop a set of risk man- agement options that can be implemented once an assessment is complete. Based on the information developed by the team, an individualized manage- ment plan can be created to mitigate any identified risks. Other components of management include notifying law enforcement if an attack is imminent, ensuring the safety of potential targets, creating a situation less prone to violence, and reducing the effect of stressors. STEP 7: Create and promote a safe school climate. School climates should facilitate a culture of safety, respect, trust, and emotional support, where open communication is encouraged, school staff intervene in conflicts and bullying, and students feel empow- ered to share their concerns. FAST FACT: In 2016, 57% of public schools reported the presence (at least once a week) of security staff. STEP 8: Provide training for all stakeholders. Recipi- ents of the training should include faculty, staff, and administrators; students; parents; and school resource officers and local law enforcement. Top- ics covered by the training might include how to recognize and report concerning behavior, suicide prevention, conflict resolution, and de-escalation techniques. You can download the full report at https://www2. report.pdf 8 STEPS FOR CREATING A COMPREHENSIVE TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION PLAN Recommendations from the Federal Commission on School Safety