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Targeted Violence in Schools: Warning Behaviors of Physical Violence and Other Concerning Behaviors in a Public-School System
The targeted violence literature has highlighted several risk factors and warning behaviors indicative of escalating risk for violence. All too often, schools have faced serious threats of targeted violence in the form of mass shootings, threats of violence, and various other concerning behaviors. Threat assessment and management has been supported as a way to identify concerning individuals, assess risk for violence, and enacting risk mitigation strategies to prevent violence from occurring. The current study examines cases managed by a K-12 public-school system’s threat assessment team. Results highlight the need for school threat assessment teams to recognize problematic behavior comes from multiple sources including individuals who are not students. In the current sample, approximately 28% of concerning persons were not students. Additionally, results highlight differences between student and non-student concerning persons. Student persons of concern were more likely to target other students and the institution in general, engage in concerning social media contacts, and demonstrate signs of suicidality. Non-student persons of concern were more likely to target current or former intimate partners, engage in concerning face-to-face contacts, and demonstrate signs of problematic substance use. Finally, the current study examined risk factors and warning behaviors for physical violence, with variables such as intensity of effort, problematic substance use, and direct threats being associated with violence. Implications regarding the importance of school threat assessment teams, the vast range of concerning behaviors these teams are tasked with managing, and the need for educating stakeholders about reporting concerning behaviors are discussed in detail.
Sandoval Semmann, Jessica L, "Targeted Violence in Schools: Warning Behaviors of Physical Violence and Other Concerning Behaviors in a Public-School System" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28086117.