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Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States, 2004

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2004
61 pages
This report presents findings from a study of school-based attacks that was conducted by the U.S. Secret Service's National Threat Assessment Center and the U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.
The findings suggest that some future attacks may be preventable. Most incidents of targeted school violence were planned in advance. The attackers' behavior prior to the attack indicated they were planning it, and other students knew of the planning. Most attackers had already raised concerns about their behavior among people in their lives. Given these findings, the use of a threat assessment approach may be a promising strategy for preventing a school-based attack. Educators, law enforcement officials, and others with public safety responsibilities may be able to prevent some incidents of targeted school violence if they know the warning signs to look for and have developed means of obtaining information on these warning signs. Threat assessments should be conducted regularly in order to develop and modify strategies for preventing attacks at school. A threat assessment is a fact-based investigative and analytical approach that focuses on what a particular student is doing and saying. Threat assessment emphasizes the importance of student behavior and comments in identifying, evaluating, and reducing the risk posed by a student who may be thinking about a school-based attack. Educators can also assist in preventing attacks by creating an environment in which students feel comfortable telling a member of the school staff about someone who is considering harming another person or themselves. The study, which began in June 1999, analyzed 37 incidents of targeted school violence that involved 41 attackers. The incidents occurred in the United States from 1974 to June 2000. Appended incidents of targeted school violence by State, incidents of targeted school violence by year, and 14 resources and contact information

Date Published: July 1, 2004