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Threat Assessment

A threat assessment is not a crisis response. If there is indication that violence is imminent, take immediate action!! 

The Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG) is a framework for investigating a threat in a systematic manner, i.e., gathering relevant information, considering the contextual factors associated with the threat, and taking responsible action to develop a plan to prevent an act of violence. 

Input/data from a variety of people will be utilized, however, the recommended Threat Assessment Team for the meeting should consist of: a school administrator, the SRO, a school counselor or school psychologist (psychologist only if substantive), and a district designee (such as an LCSW only if substantive); and if appropriate: parent(s), and student. If the student receives Special Education, there must also be a Special Education Coordinator.  

Conducting a Threat Assessment is not a test, nor a score; it has variables. School authorities must inevitably rely on their professional judgment in making decisions about the seriousness of a threat and the appropriate course of action. The two main purposes are to:

  1. Prevent violence!
  2. Address the student’s underlying behavior, i.e., the conflicts or problems that caused the threatening behavior!  

The process includes restoring the disruption that the threat may have caused to the school environment, and/or addressing the needs of specific people that may have been targeted or feel especially fearful. Restoring safety is somewhat addressed on Forms 7 & 8 (#22), but the impact cannot and should not be underestimated and/or ignored.

Threat Assessment Steps: Please note: There is latitude in how in depth the process needs to be based upon a preliminary review of the threat; however, when in doubt err on the side of more not less.

Review The Decision Tree – Preliminary Review: 

  1. Threat Assessment and Response Protocol will give you some direction as to how to proceed:

Interview/Questionnaire forms:

  1. Interview the student(s) who made the threat: Be sure to write exactly what he/she says.
  2. Target/Witness: Use one form for each target and/or witness. 
  3. Parent/Guardian Questionnaire: Complete the questionnaire with the parent. They must be notified that by completing the questionnaire, they are giving consent to participate in the threat assessment and are also giving their written consent to answer questions that may include PPRA

(Note: It may not be necessary to ask the parent all of the questions, review Form #7 so that you at least ask enough, but use your discretion.)

  1. Teacher/Staff Questionnaire: Obtain 2-3 from those who know the student best. 

Pre-meeting Data Collection and Review forms:

  1. Gathering and Data Review: Gathering and Data Review: In addition to the information gleaned through the interviews/questionnaires, gather data as recommended to respond to questions 1-19. Use the blank column to expound upon the data. For example, from discipline logs you may see entries that show a history of physical violence. 

The more data sources, the better the picture will be of the whole child, and the easier it will be to get to the basis for the conduct. 

  1. Key Observations: Fill in what you can based upon the student interview, etc., prior to the meeting BUT revisit at the meeting.  

At the Threat Assessment Meeting forms:

Review the data on forms #6 & #7, add/revise if needed.

  1. Threat Response/Safety Plan: Develop this plan as a consequence (or as a contingency in returning to the school from a suspension or TDT); to address safety; and to resolve the underlying reasons for the behavior/threat. Be sure to note anyone who will be following up.
  2. Behavior Intervention: If Needed

At the end of the Year form:

  1. Follow-up/Revision of the Plan.

Record Retention: Until Resolution of the Issue then Destroy. 

It is recommended that Forms 7, 8, 10 (9 if needed) be uploaded into PowerSchool (District Forms)

Substantive Threats: Must be reported via PowerSchool under an incident if they meet the following:

Terroristic Threat: An individual is guilty of making a threat against a school if the individual threatens in person or via electronic means, either with real intent or as an intentional hoax, to commit any offense involving bodily injury, death, or substantial property damage, and threatens the use of a firearm or weapon or hoax weapon of mass destruction. Includes acts with intent to:

  • Disrupt the regular schedule of the school or influence the conduct of the students, employees, or general public at the school. 
  • Prevent or interrupt the occupancy of the school or a portion of the school, or a facility or vehicle used by the school; or 
  • Intimidate or coerce students or employees of the school; or 
  • Causes an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies to take action due to the risk of the school or general public. (UAC 76-10-401)

Threat/Intimidation (causing fear or harm): An expression of intent to do harm or act out violently, either physically or sexually, against someone or something. A threat may be spoken, written, or symbolic. 

Transient Threats: Must be reported via PowerSchool under Log Entries.