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By Will Modzeleski and Jeff Pollard

Threat Assessment Teams are developed specifically to identify those individuals who pose a threat (to school, students, or staff).  The U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education recommended the development of threat assessment teams in 2002, after completing a study on targeted school shooters.  That study, the Safe School Initiative, pointed out that while targeted shootings are relatively rare events they can have catastrophic results when they occur.  The Study also noted that many targeted shootings can be prevented through the development and operation of a threat assessment team.  As identifying and responding to threats (the team should be involved in all threats, not just those that are considered to be an immediate threat) is a serious undertaking, one that requires a significant amount of training,  we recommend that TAT focus exclusively on responding to threats.  During its investigation of threats the TAT may identify issues that led to the threat, such as bullying, and we believe the TAT should be able to make recommendations on actions the school should take to remedy the identified issue.

Additional consideration

Some Threat Assessment Teams feel that one model does not fit every situation. For more information on potential considerations read the information on the following links.

http://www.threatassessment.vt.edu/FAQ/index.html#CareTAT

http://www.jedfoundation.org/campus_teams_guide.pdf (a pdf file requires that you copy and past the address in your browser).