Assessment protocol helps decide school district response to threats

The consequences of making threats in school involve multiple levels of response.

The Warren County School District evaluates every threat using its threat assessment protocol.

Over the last two weeks, six threats have resulted in police response. Other actions do not rise to that level.

“It is difficult to paint these all with the same brush,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “Everyone involved is being consistent with similar threats, but not all threats are the same, so they aren’t treated the same.”

According to Stewart, there are three kinds of actions that are being reported. “We are seeing three basic types of scenarios right now: threats to the school as a whole; threats to individuals or a couple of people who are known; and inappropriate comments that aren’t threats.”

The district has actions that can be taken.

In some of the recent cases, staff were able to make sure students did not pose any direct threat by keeping them under direct supervision until police arrived.

The district’s Standard Response Protocol and ALICE training would take effect in the case of a serious incident. Students have been receiving ongoing ALICE — Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate — training for several years.

Students who make threats face serious consequences.

The district can take disciplinary action against students based on its discipline code. Those penalties are separate from any actions taken by law enforcement. Several recent threats have resulted in felony charges being filed against students.

Details of disciplinary actions the district takes against students, whether for threats or anything else, are confidential and not released, according to Stewart.

“Teachers are talking about this to their students,” Stewart said.

And students who hear other students making threats are being encouraged to share that information.

“We are continuing to reinforce that they need to report any threat,” she said.

Students and parents may share threat information with teachers or other school officials or law enforcement.

For parents who are looking for help in discussing school violence with their children in appropriate and effective ways, Stewart suggested “Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers” from the National Association of School Psychologists at

www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children.

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