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Student Threat Assessment: Virginia Study Finds Progress, Areas to Improve

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2021

This article details Virginia’s first statewide project to examine the  use of threat assessments in identifying challenges faced by schools.


Formal threat assessment programs are gaining traction in schools, but research on their impact has lagged. A recent study of student threat assessment efforts in Virginia’s K-12 public schools, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, found progress in resolving threats without further incident or resorting to suspension or expulsion of students from school. At the same time, the research identified key threat assessment program areas in need of improvement. Virginia law requires K-12 schools to conduct threat assessments. In the study, the researchers tested a threat assessment model developed by the University of Virginia. The project was the first to examine statewide use of threat assessment and identify some challenges faced by Virginia schools.