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Over the last 20 years, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) has conducted research, training, and consultation on threat assessment and prevention of the various forms of targeted violence, especially targeted violence in schools.

Following the tragedy in Parkland, FL, President Donald J. Trump appointed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to lead a new Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by the Department of Education and co-chaired by the Department of Homeland Security. The Commission, which was tasked with quickly providing meaningful and actionable recommendations to keep students safe at school, published its final report (Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety) in December 2018.

Ensuring the safety of children at school is a responsibility that belongs to everyone, including law enforcement, school staff, mental health practitioners, government officials, and members of the general public. To aide in these efforts, the U.S. Secret Service tasked the NTAC with updating the Safe School Initiative (2002) research study, which examined incidents of targeted school violence from 1974-2000. The research and information produced by NTAC guides not only the Secret Service’s approach to threat assessment, but also informs the communitywide approach needed to prevent incidents of targeted violence across the country.

The new report from the NTAC related to targeted violence in schools, Protecting America’s Schools: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence, was released to the public and posted on our agency external web site (www.secretservice.gov).  This study builds upon the Safe School Initiative and the recommendations set forth by the President’s Federal Commission on School Safety and its final report.

The NTAC report, the most in-depth federal analysis of targeted school violence to be published in 20 years, identifies a series of key findings and commonalities among 41 incidents of targeted school violence between 2008 and 2017. The research identifies commonalities in the motives, behaviors, and situational factors of the offenders that offer opportunities to prevent violent behavior, by recognizing concerning behaviors and students who are in crisis. The research and findings contained within this report affirm that comprehensive and multidisciplinary threat assessment procedures are the best practice for preventing targeted violence in schools.

NTAC will hold presentations of this research in the coming weeks in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami for executives, administrators, law enforcement and other relevant stakeholders. It is anticipated that NTAC will hold additional presentations on the research in the first half of 2020.

I have attached the Protecting America’s Schools: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence report. In this email I have included many of our partners in threat assessment and preventing targeted violence in schools, however I may have missed some of our partners. Please share the report with your law enforcement, emergency management & fire life safety partners, education partners, and other stakeholders in school safety.

 

 

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