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Guidelines for responding to student threats of violence

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A series of highly publicized school shootings in the USA generated the misperception of an epidemic of school violence. Fears of school violence stimulated an ill-advised expansion of zero tolerance school discipline policies and the widespread dissemination of profiles or warning signs of potentially dangerous students for use by school administrators. This article presents the rationale for student threat assessment as an administrative alternative to zero tolerance or profiling. It describes the development and field-testing of guidelines for school administrators to follow in investigating and resolving student threats of violence. Student threat assessment permits administrators to make reasonable judgments about the seriousness of a threat, to resolve most threats quickly and efficiently, and to reserve more labor-intensive procedures for the most serious threats.
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Keywords: Risk assessment; School; United States of America; Violence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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