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COPS Office and Police Foundation Release Reports on Averted School Violence

NCJ Number
Date Published
Becky Lewis
This March 2019 issue of TECHBeat simmarizes two recently produced reports by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and the Police Foundation, which offer findings from case studies and statistical analysis as the foundation for findings, conclusions, and recommendations on how to avert school violence.
The two publications are “Averted School Violence (ASV) Database: A Preliminary Report on the Police Foundation’s Averted School Violence Database” and “A Comparison of Averted and Completed School Attacks From the Police Foundation Averted School Violence Database.” Two key case studies from the “Preliminary Report” draw two conclusions: 1) Never assume that a school attack won’t happen in a small, tight-knit community; and 2) Never discredit any threat because a student does not fit a stereotype. Another key finding is that nearly all of the perpetrators of completed attacks as well as those whose plans were averted had talked about committing a violent act at school. This suggests that the monitoring of students’ social media comments could reveal thoughts about committing school violence as well as suicide and bullying. Another important insight from the two studies is that those who planned a violent attack at school had often experienced a life-changing event, such as parental divorce, the ending of a significant relatioinship, or a family move. Such events often led to a depressed mood, impaired social-emotional functioning, hypersensitivity to criticism, and withdrawal from social interaction. Other important factors noted in the publications for countering school violence are having a strong relationship between school staff and school resource officers (SROs) or local law enforcement, having an anonymous reporting system about specific concerns regarding school violence, and promoting trusting relationships among school staff, students, and law enforcement personnel.
Date Created: March 24, 2019