SCASD Threat Assessment Processes
June 2019, Act 18 of 2019 amended the Public School Code of 1949 by adding Article XIII-E, Threat Assessment. Among its provisions, Article XIII-E requires all school entities in Pennsylvania to establish at least one Threat Assessment Team by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
A threat is a communication of intent to harm someone that may be spoken, written, gestured, or expressed in some other form, such as via text messaging, email, or other digital means. An expression of intent to harm someone is considered a threat regardless of whether it is communicated to the intended target(s) and regardless of whether the intended target is aware of the threat. There are two types of threats:
- Imminent Threat: An individual/situation appears to pose a clear and immediate threat of serious violence towards others that requires containment and action to protect an identified or identifiable target(s); and may also exhibit other concerning behavior that requires intervention.
Direct Threat: An individual/situation poses a significant risk to the health or safety of themselves and/or others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. The direct threat standard applies when the Threat Assessment Team or school entity administration determines that an individual/situation poses a direct threat and that applicable disciplinary procedures are not available or sufficient to mitigate the threat.
Each SCASD School will establish a trained Threat Assessment Team that will complete the process of identifying, reporting, assessing, responding to, and intervening with threats, including identifying and avoiding racial, cultural, or disability bias.
Threat Assessment Teams will consist of the building principal(s) and the school counselor and may also include the school psychologist, school nurse, special education teacher, or any person that has special training in threat assessment processes. The responsibilities of the Threat Assessment Teams include:
- Assessing and intervening with individuals who may pose a threat to self or others
- Ensuring school employees know:
- Who the team members are
- How – and to whom – to report threatening or at-risk behavior, including through Safe2Say Something
The approach the threat assessment teams will take will include identifying, inquiring, assessing and managing the situation:
The principals of the threat assessment processes include understanding that targeted violence is the end result of an understandable, and frequently discernible, process of thinking and behavior known as the Pathway to Violence.
The goals of the threat assessment team are to:
- Control the situation/individual to prevent the possibility of violence
- Protect and aid possible targets to the extent possible
- Provide support and guidance to help individuals deal successfully with their problems
Threat Assessment Forms and Resources
- Threat Assessment Training
- Model K-12 Threat Assessment Procedures and Guidelines
- Model K-12 Threat Assessment Process Flowchart
- Comprehensive Threat Assessment Form
- Suicide Prevention and Intervention Guidelines
PCCD and RSM have launched a new scenario-based training program available for school entities, which builds on the concepts introduced in the online and regional training sessions. If you’re interested in requesting a session, please utilize the Technical Assistance Request Form.