School Violence Threat Assessment: Professional Development Training for K-12 Educators

Christopher Potter


While threats of violence are relatively common in U.S. K-12 schools, the likelihood of a threat being carried out is very low. School leaders must take all threats of school violence seriously but must also have evidence-informed means to discern less-serious, transient threats from more serious, substantive ones. School violence threat assessment training is a vital professional development tool, to ensure safer schools while avoiding unnecessary labeling of students or overly harsh consequences through disciplinary over-reaction. This manual supplements an abbreviated 60 to 90-minute professional development training presentation on school violence threat assessment intended for K-12 school administrators, school and community based mental health professionals, teachers, case managers, social workers, law enforcement personnel, ancillary school staff, and school board members, among others. All the necessary components to effectively deliver this training are here, to include instructor preparation, training overview and objectives, pre- and post-assessments, slide-by-slide instructional notes, training and instructor evaluation, supplemental forms and worksheets, and literary references. With adequate preparation and content review, any professional instructor will be able to deliver this training effectively and efficiently. The accompanying PowerPoint presentation may be accessed at School violence threat assessment is a dynamic and growing field of practice that will inevitably adapt to new challenges and trends. It is vital that this training module be reviewed and updated at least annually.