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Targeted Violence Targeted Violence

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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. One 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.

Some school districts may decide to use school-based law enforcement, including school resource officers (SROs) and other security personnel, to help prevent or mitigate school violence. Implementing an SRO program is a local decision that should be made with significant community input, and school districts should consider the range of options available that best fit their needs. SROs have a unique role in school safety, with a primary focus on prevention and proactive engagement in their community of students and school staff.

Local communities should consider funding, training, and proper staffing as part of the SRO program evaluation. Schools with SRO programs are encouraged to implement high-quality practices in the training and use of SROs in schools. Ensuring SROs carry out their responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner helps students feel safe at school.

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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.

Report
Targeted Violence
Law Enforcement Agencies that Employ School Resource Officers, 2019

Department of Justice, 2022

This report presents statistics about school resource officers, based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics' Survey of Law Enforcement Personnel in Schools agency survey. The report provides data on the agencies that employ school resource officers and demographics of the officers. It also describes the policies related to school resource officers, including law enforcement, mentoring, and teaching duties performed; hiring processes; and required training.
Checklist
Targeted Violence
SECURe Local Implementation Rubric

Department of Education and Department of Justice

This resource helps school districts, schools, and law enforcement agencies determine the type of school-police partnership that will be most effective in their community and, where appropriate, to incorporate school-based law enforcement officers, commonly referred to as school resource officers, into the school learning environment. It includes five suggested action steps to ensure safe school-based enforcement though collaboration, understanding, and respect within a community’s schools. 

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