Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. Targeted Violence

Targeted Violence Targeted Violence

Subtopics

Physical Security Information about Physical Security School Security Personnel Information about School Security Personnel Violence Prevention Information about Violence Prevention

Prevent and mitigate targeted violence incidents.

Targeted violence refers to violence that is premeditated and directed at specific individuals, groups, or locations. Perpetrators select their targets to achieve specific motives, such as the resolution of a grievance or to make a political or ideological statement. Targeted violence is distinct from violence that is impulsive, random, or spontaneous and is often distinguished by pre-attack behaviors that suggest violence as a possible outcome. Those behaviors, if identified and addressed, can reduce the likelihood of a targeted violence incident at your school. The best practice for preventing targeted school violence is through the use of a multidisciplinary school threat assessment team, comprised of school staff tasked to identify, assess, and intervene with students who may pose a risk of harm to themselves or others.

Schools can work to prepare for potential acts of targeted violence by improving their campuses’ physical security and involving school personnel who are trained to prevent, recognize, and respond to threats of violence, as well as implementing other violence prevention strategies. Physical security measures can mitigate threats and reduce the amount of harm inflicted if incidents occur. Conducting a site assessment and developing building security plans can identify existing vulnerabilities and enhance overall school security.

Law enforcement, school resource officers (SRO), or security personnel can be invaluable resources to a school’s safety team because of their specialized knowledge in recognizing building security concerns and mitigating violent situations. SROs, who are typically sworn law enforcement officers, and school safety officers (SSO), who are typically non-sworn school security staff, have been trained to act as a first line of defense and respond to acts of violence. Their presence in schools allows them to build relationships with students that can prevent or mitigate school violence.

Use the filter below to sort resources available based upon stages of preparedness and subtopic.

Filter Resources

All Targeted Violence Resources

The federal government identified additional resources that highlight strategies for school safety. Use these resources to learn more about targeted violence.

Guidance
Mental Health
Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) Field Operations Guide

Department of Health and Human Services, 2017

This resource provides guidance on responding to disaster, violence, or terrorism events using the Psychological First Aid intervention. It gives school administrators, educators, and staff practical assistance to meet immediate needs and concerns, reduce distress, and foster adaptive coping in the wake of a disaster.

Report
Targeted Violence
Report on Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2021

Department of Education and Department of Justice, 2022

This report provides official estimates of school crime and safety from a variety of data sources, including national surveys of students, teachers, principals, and post-secondary institutions and presents data on different types of student victimization, measures of school conditions, and student perceptions about their personal safety at school. 

Webpage
Mental Health
Coping with School Tragedies

Department of Health and Human Services

This webpage outlines resources on addressing crises that occur in school communities and how to move forward in the aftermath of these crises.

Was this page helpful?