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date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Though targeted attacks at schools are rare events, educators and behavioral health professionals working in those settings must evaluate threats and threatening situations when they occur. Schools across the world have experimented with different methods over time, but the threat assessment approach—particularly executed by an interdisciplinary team—has emerged as a best practice. This chapter describes the results of the Safe School Initiative, an in-depth case analysis of 37 targeted school attacks involving 41 attackers over a 25-year period, and their implications for understanding the attackers, the situations, the settings, and the targets. It addresses the continuum of threats that schools may encounter and offers some heuristics for decision making, including recent research on key indicators of intent. It concludes by emphasizing the need for schools to have incident and post-incident response plans to mitigate harm if an attack does occur.

Keywords: school shooting, school violence, targeted violence, threat assessment, violence prevention

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