• Health and Well-Being
  • Report
  • Higher Ed
  • K-12

Threat Assessment Teams for Students Exhibiting Concerning Behaviors

Alyssa Keehan, Esq.
August 2014

Why Read This

Individual attackers don’t simply “snap” before engaging in violence; rather, they often engage in observable behaviors that signal an attack is about to occur. This report discusses the benefits of threat assessment teams, which identify and coordinate services for a broad range of troubling student behaviors, including mental illness, substance abuse, and disruptive conduct.

Key Takeaways

  • The Department of Education, the Secret Service, and the FBI agree that having a threat assessment team is a sound method for identifying and responding to distressed students in educational settings.
  • Threat assessment teams work well when they have five to 20 members; a group with too few members could have difficulty fostering needed communication among various campus constituencies, and larger groups benefit from regular interaction among a broader array of representatives from different campus departments.
  • Team chairpersons are ordinarily from Student Affairs, Judicial Affairs, campus law enforcement, or Counseling and Mental Health Services. A chairperson’s personal characteristics, rather than functional position, often dictate success and compatibility with the position.

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