Safe School Initiative Final Report


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Dec 11, 2011
In 1999, instigated by Coumbine, the Secret Service got hooked up with the Department of Education to investigate "school shootings." Their research went back to 1974, and continued through 2000. In 2002, they released the results of this investigation:
The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in The United States

SSI Final Report - Ch. IV said:
The 10 key findings that the authors believe may have implications for the development of strategies to address the problem of targeted school violence are as follows:
  • Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely are sudden, impulsive acts.
  • Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack.
  • Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack.
  • There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence.
  • Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help.
  • Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide.
  • Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack.
  • Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack.
  • In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity.
  • Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.
They then do well to describe what they think might serve as ways to deal with these takeaways. It's almost like a bunch of LE and protection professionals were charged with solving a problem they actually have experience dealing with.

Like any proper report, they end with conclusions and recommendations of how we as a country might prevent some future attacks. It's clear that we can't stop them all, but their proposal, taken in good faith, and held within the confines of the Constitution's steadfast protection of our rights seems like a wise starting point.

SSI Final Report - Ch. V said:
Taken together, the findings from the Safe School Initiative suggest that some future attacks may be preventable. Most incidents of targeted school violence were thought out and planned in advance. The attackers’ behavior suggested that they wer e planning or preparing for an attack. Prior to most incidents, the attackers’ peers knew the attack was to occur. And most attackers were not "invisible," but already were of concern to people in their lives.
In light of these findings, the use of a threat assessment approach may be a promising strategy for preventing a school-based attack. Educators, law enforcement officials and others with public safety responsibilities may be able to prevent some incidents of targeted school violence if they know what information to look for and what to do with such information when it is found. In sum, these officials may benefit from focusing their efforts on formulating strategies for preventing these attacks in two principal areas:
  • developing the capacity to pick up on and evaluate available or knowable information that might indicate that there is a risk of a targeted school attack; and,
  • employing the results of these risk evaluations or "threat assessments" in developing strategies to prevent potential school attacks from occurring.
I tend to lean pretty heavily on this document, and its very existence in answering the cries to "do something." We've done research, and our leading law enforcement and education officers have come to a joint conclusion. Why don't we start implementing some of their hard work and careful thought before we let children (literally, see: walk-out BS) define our policy?

Sounds like common sense to me...
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