Reducing the Risk of School Violence Starts Local and Stays Local
In August of 2017, while delivering a keynote speech to over 600 school and police personnel, Dr. More uttered these words:
While active shooter response and recovery training will always be critical, we must apply an equal amount of effort to creating an early warning information sharing system among mental health professionals, law enforcement, and school personnel regarding any potential school violence threat.– John More, JD
This message was reiterated as recently as February 9th of this year to over 200 school and law enforcement personnel during a threat management training in Oklahoma hosted by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
Response Law’s threat screening training has always focused on the critical areas for school and law enforcement personnel nationwide:
- Establish an information-sharing memorandum of agreement among mental health, law enforcement, and school professionals that is court recognized
- Educate all students and staff on how the law allows for safety to outweigh confidentiality and privacy, especially in the social media arena – thereby, erasing the hesitancy to report
- Create a multi-agency threat management team that includes school administration which becomes the central portal for receiving and disseminating information that is threat related
- Provide students, faculty, and parents with a clear and simple “steps” guide for recognizing and reporting potential threats through a well defined communication chain supported by a coherent, well-integrated plan.
The multi-agency team concept allows for a check and balance system to avoid the pitfall of information being trapped in a single silo and not properly disseminated.¬† It is the ability to gather that information, analyze, and share it in real time that becomes our best chance for reducing school violence.