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4 Elements of a Proactive Approach to Threat Assessment

Lindsay Bragg
January 21, 2021

For most school administrators a threat assessment process serves two purposes: meeting state and local mandates and providing peace of mind. Meeting mandates is essential, but to provide real peace of mind, threat assessment must go above and beyond basic requirements.

Adhering to mandates, like SB 11 in Texas, is a great first step. Programs and tools that adhere to state and local mandates will provide a framework to respond to crises as they occur. With these tools, students and staff will know where to go and what to do in an emergency.

As partners with CrisisGo as well as the Texas School Safety Center The “I Love U Guys” Foundation provides a great framework for emergency response with their Standard Response Protocol for K12 Schools: Hold, Secure, Lockdown, Evacuate, Shelter.

But emergency response on its own isn’t effective, you need proactive threat assessment.

The best threat assessment tools take a holistic approach to student safety. They support prevention and recovery—not just response.

A proactive threat assessment program includes tools to support:

  1. Identification
  2. Assessment
  3. Response
  4. Recovery

Identifying potential threats is a key element of crisis prevention. 51% of schools provide some type of anonymous tip line. 77% are described as anonymous or confidential. Studies have repeatedly shown students feel more comfortable reporting troubling experiences when they can remain anonymous.

Tips lines should also support multi-media reporting and follow-up opportunities through an online platform, chat or email. The most common challenge associated with running an anonymous tip line is receiving tips with insufficient information for preventative action. By guaranteeing anonymity, even when using a school-provided device, students are willing to engage in a conversation which enables preventative action.

A threat identification tool should integrate with your larger school safety suite. When identification can easily flow into assessment, the entire process becomes more scalable and simpler. And when a process is simple, participants (be they student or staff) are willing to do it more.

A good assessment protocol brings together safety teams, threat assessment teams, and monitoring teams to evaluate threats and make determinations on next steps. A proactive, preventative approach to assessment involves the entire community—administration, teachers, coaches, parents, and school psychologists.

With so many people involved, it’s important that your tool enables a clear delineation of responsibilities AND maintains HIPPA compliance and student confidentiality. In this function, your threat assessment tool serves as a project manager and a command center. By creating a single dashboard for identifying threats and evaluations of those threats from multiple sources, the threat assessment team can better identify preventative actions.

Integrating your incident response plan with your identification and assessment tools guarantees all the information your response team needs is right at your fingertips.

No response tool would be complete without a framework to prepare, plan and practice and standard response protocol. They should be simple, action-based, and easily applied to a variety of incidents and emergencies—from natural disasters and fires to accidents and intruders.

Your response plan should also be ever-evolving, data-driven, and based on research. Another benefit of integrating your response tool with your identification and assessment tools is that you can use REAL data from YOUR school to inform and evolve your response protocols.

In incident can occur in an instant. But the ramifications can last days, months, or even years later. A fully integrated, holistic Threat Assessment Manager encompasses the long road of recovery as well.

What resources will your students need to recover from an incident? How can recovery fuel prevention of future incidents? By creating reports of the entire threat assessment process, from identification to response, your counselors, psychologists, and administrators can develop a recovery plan that address the unique needs of your district—all in one dashboard.

How to provide peace of mind:

CrisisGo is the first company to launch a prevention plan integrated into threat assessment. Learn more about how to this revolutionary Threat Assessment Manager can provide peace of mind for administrators, teachers, parents, and the community.

CrisisGo’s Threat Assessment Manager will support your goal of graduation without violence. The best Threat Assessment Manager is one you never have to use.

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