Many hands are needed. Our mission to prevent targeted violence in our schools will require commitment and collaboration on a national scale – from our educators and teachers, our faith-based communities, our business partners, our neighborhoods, our police, our government – every level of it, and frankly, every community in the country. Support at the grassroots level is imperative – and will require innovative outreach on our part.
Nothing important gets done alone. Supporting 130,000 schools is a daunting challenge – some might even believe an impossible one for a new organization. But remember, our nation and schools are not starting from scratch. The U.S. Department of Education has initiated and delivered some very notable programs which strengthened the security posture for many schools. We will stand on this early platform of achievement to deliver the services listed below. As I outlined yesterday in Act #4, the first of six components driving our strategy is Services and Support Levels. Here, as Act #5, we define these as follows. The first service – Strategic Counsel and Guidance – is available now. The additional services will be available to schools in the coming weeks and months, as we gain support, secure funding and align more of the nation’s experts behind this initiative.
Strategic Counsel and Guidance
Identification, assessment and management of an individual’s potential for violence. Direction when school administrators or police are at a loss about where to begin or how to proceed when they suspect an individual of plotting violence or have uncovered potential indicators of future violence. Assistance to decision-makers in helping them understand threat assessment protocols and best practices, deescalate these events, and connect them with local resources. Guidance on integrating various strategies to maximize the safety and security of all students and staff and minimize risks over the short and long term.
Targeted Violence Prevention Program Development
Support to schools in establishing a prevention-oriented methodology for targeted violence prevention. Guidance and support in creating in-house, multi-disciplinary, cross-functional behavioral threat assessment programs supported by teams composed of teachers and school administrators; representatives from HR, legal, social services, mental health and security; and external specialists in law enforcement, mental health and targeted violence prevention.
School Emergency and Crisis Management Planning
Comprehensive, well-defined plans that address all risks, threats, and hazards to the school campus. Scope includes all critical phases of planning – from protection and prevention (including mitigation) to response and recovery.
Independent Assessment of School Security Operations and Preparedness
Review of existing school physical security, access control, policies, plans, personnel, operations, training, and coordination with critical local third-party responders. Recommendations on improvements, connections to additional resources, and guidance on execution.
Analysis and Assessment of a Specific Threat
Highly technical, methodology-driven pre-attack pathway analysis to identify behaviors and characteristics likely to foreshadow an act of targeted violence. Includes background examination; interviews with family and key contacts; review and analysis, if relevant, by clinical psychologist; liaison and facilitation with law enforcement and protective intelligence authorities; and counter-threat recommendations and assistance.
Awareness Campaign Planning
Development of school-wide violence prevention awareness initiatives. Dissemination of key messages related to topics such as identifying behaviors of concern, emphasizing the importance of early communications and reporting protocols, ensuring that certain behaviors are not tolerated on campus and alerting staff to early signs of students in distress who may be in need of assistance.
Emergency Preparedness Tabletops and Training
Introduction of administrators, teachers, third-party first responders and other stakeholders with a near-real world experience in a controlled environment through tabletop exercises. Training and education that addresses a comprehensive spectrum of topics, including Department of Homeland Security threat conditions; types of emergencies; special kinds of risk such as hazardous materials risk, liability and foreseeable risk; the role and importance of the National Response Plan; the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System (NIMS); functional protocols; emergency response team roles and contact information; staff emergency roles; communications plan; annual orientation and training drills; initial assessments, alerts, notifications and protocol determination; physical security; emergency evacuation procedures; and emergency management operations, among many other areas.