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Threat Assessment


For nearly two decades, federal law enforcement and education agencies have recommended the use of multidisciplinary threat assessment in schools as a strategy to prevent targeted violence and other safety concerns.

Threat assessment was initially developed by the U.S. Secret Service to identify potential threats to public officials, and has since evolved into a scientific, systematic approach to analyzing and mitigating dangerous situations (“targeted violence”) in settings that range from workplaces to campuses to K-12 schools.

What is a Threat Assessment?

Threat Assessment IS:

Threat Assessment IS NOT:

A fact-based, investigative approach to determining how likely a person is to carry out a threat of violence. (Safe School Initiative Study,


A simple checklist of warning signs or red flags used to remove a student from school.

A means to identify, assess, and manage individuals who are at risk for violence against

themselves or others.

A means to label a student as a troublemaker and enact consequences.

A way to identify someone who has the potential for violence in many forms – self-harm, assault, risk-taking behaviors, suicide, substance abuse,

and other aggressive or dangerous behaviors.

A means to find “the next school shooter.”

Focused on a given individual(s) as a potential threat, conducted as the need arises (i.e., examines people, not things).

A vulnerability assessment, site survey, or security audit, which focuses on the facility, policies, and procedures, not individuals (i.e.,

examines things, not people).

What is a Threat Assessment Team?

A multidisciplinary group of individuals identified by a chief school administrator responsible for the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community, or others.  Each school building in the Wattsburg Area School District has a threat assessment team that receives annual specialized training in threat assessment best practices.

The  Pennsylvania General Assembly passed Act 18 of 2019, which requires K-12 school entities to establish Threat Assessment Teams under Article XIII-E of the PA Public School Code.

Who Initiates a Threat Assessment?

Anyone can.  This includes, but is not limited to students, parents, and school  employees.  If you have reason to believe that someone may harm themselves or others, contact your teacher, building principal, counselor, or school nurse.
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