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Statewide Implementation of Threat Assessment in Virginia K-12 Schools

NCJ Number
Contemporary School Psychology Volume: 22 Issue: 2 Dated: 2018 Pages: 116-124
Dewey. Cornell; Jennifer Maeng
Date Published
9 pages

In 2013, Virginia became the first state to mandate the use of threat assessment teams in its K-12 public schools, and the current study provides an account of the development and adaptation of threat assessment as a school safety practice and research on the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines in Virginia schools.


This article first describes the state law and the issue of whether suicide assessment should be considered a form of threat assessment. It then describes research on the statewide implementation of threat assessment and summarizes results that show overall positive outcomes for schools that are engaged in threat assessment, but qualitative findings from a needs assessment identified team training gaps as well as a need to orient the larger school community to the threat assessment process. The article describes a series of online programs to educate students, parents, teachers, and other school staff about the threat assessment process. Overall, this article presents some lessons learned in the statewide implementation of threat assessment as a safe and effective violence prevention strategy for schools. 27 references (publisher abstract modified)