Sadly 1 student has been killed in a school shooting in Winston-Salem, NC. Thankfully, all staff and other students are safe. Now that schools are back in session across the country, I encourage all schools to consider establishing Threat Assessment Teams and Risk Reduction Planning. Threat Assessment Teams include personnel from education, social work, psychology, psychiatry, law enforcement, and representatives of the medical community. The team meets regularly to create risk reduction plans for any students that may be at risk to harm themselves or others. In order to provide interventions to reduce the risk of harm to self or others, members of the Threat assessment team must have certain information:
- Know the risk factors and effective interventions for anyone with behaviors that place them at risk to harm themselves or others.
- Learn which students need to be screened.
- Explore the local resources for interventions
- Have a process for referring youth to adequate services
- Gain an understanding that harm to self and others is driven primarily by trauma histories, inadequate treatment, stress, and crisis. Those at risk need supports and services, not punishment to help youth solve problems, reduce toxic stress, build coping skills, and change behavior.