Doug Bedell — November 15, 2019, 1:13 pm

How the U.S. Secret Service Is Responding to School Violence

There have been at least 30 shooting attacks at schools in 2019. Prompted by the latest one this week in Los Angeles County, the U.S. Secret Service is calling attention to its “Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence”, issued in July of last year. It’s something for school officials and parents alike to rally around.

These are the guide’s key considerations:
• In conjunction with physical security and emergency management, a threat assessment process is an effective component to ensuring the safety and security of our nation’s schools.
• Threat assessment procedures recognize that students engage in a continuum of concerning behaviors, the vast majority of which will be non-threatening and non-violent, but may still require intervention.
• The threshold for intervention should be relatively low so that schools can identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to the level of eliciting concerns about safety.
• Everyone has a role to play in preventing school violence and creating safe school climates. Students should feel empowered to come forward without fear of reprisal. Faculty and staff should take all incoming reports seriously, and assess any information regarding concerning behavior or statements.

The Secret Service advisory includes a five-step Targeted Violence Prevention Plan, one that’s recommended to all schools and parents. The guidance comes down to listen and observe intently and act accordingly.

The Secret Service is a unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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