Threat Assessment Cooperative Working for Equitable and Safe Solutions for Schools and Communities
Did you know?
A University of Virginia study, the results of which were reported in 2021, found that students, parents, staff, and threat assessment teams demonstrated better knowledge of threat assessments, and students, in particular, voiced greater willingness to report threats following training and technical assistance.
Puget Sound Educational School District (PSESD) is committed to honoring and addressing the need to keep close those students who may pose a threat while keeping schools and communities safe. PSESD and its Threat Assessment Cooperative utilize the Salem-Keizer model of Threat Assessment and its two levels of response to threat assessment: Level 1, a site-based team assessment of the initial threat and subsequent safety plan development; and Level 2, utilized when the site-based team feels that the threat warrants a deeper assessment and safety plan development by a community-based team. Threat assessments are used to investigate and document concerns about dangerous student activities, behaviors, ideation, and/or statements.
To assist school districts in implementing Threat Assessment, PSESD established our Threat Assessment Cooperative. PSESD provides Threat Assessment Cooperative members training, expert consultation, networking, voice/representation (via an advisory committee), and status as a repository of protocols and practices, all aligning with the Salem-Keizer model. As of June, the ESD’s Cooperative:
- hired a Threat Assessment Coordinator;
- provided districts with threat assessment overview sessions and Level 1 and Level 2 trainings;
- provided consultation, facilitation and follow-up support to districts;
- maintained regular Professional Learning Community meetings for all trained staff;
- held regular advisory committee meetings and utilized a web-based communication tool for members; and
- identified the need for a sexual incident protocol and self-harm screening tool; and continued coordination with developers of the Salem-Keizer model and other ESDs to ensure we were utilizing the most recent, evidence-based protocol to maintain statewide consistency.
The ESD also formed relationships with community partners from child protective services, juvenile justice, mental health, law enforcement, youth serving agencies, and a race equity specialist to ensure the Cooperative was operating an effective Level 2 community response.
PSESD recognizes that a search for solutions relating to Threat Assessment is ongoing, and Washington State continues to strive for a coherent state-wide model while recognizing districts work with a variety of adapted models. We continue to work with districts that are not members of our Threat Assessment Cooperative to learn how best to address the emotional and social health of students. The body of knowledge and commitment for Threat Assessment is constantly growing. Schools have embraced the notion of a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) framework to address the social-emotional health of all students for a more responsive and trauma-informed approach that interrupts the likelihood of escalation by troubled students to violence.