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Local schools and PD team up for threat recognition training

By: Nathalie Murillo

The fight against school violence continues as local schools and law enforcement take up new training strategies. Champaign schools and law enforcement are coming together to begin to receive “Threat Recognition Training” as soon as this Thursday.

Led by the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, the training is constructed in a way that will help aid local communities in distinguishing when intervention is necessary, as well as next steps to take.

NTAC 2021 research finds that students exhibit a variety of observable early warning signs before a premeditated violent act takes place. Research has also found similarities among students who plotted and perpetrated attacks on school grounds. Identifying suspicious, concerning behavior is the first step in knowing how to address, respond and prevent tragedies.

Champaign County Sheriff Dustin Heuerman explains in an interview with WCIA how the objective of the training is to “strengthen the ability of school personnel to recognize and address concerning or threatening behaviors before they turn into an act of violence.”

Among the key findings of NTAC’s research, they notice the significant role parents, families, and classmates play in preventing targeted school violence; communication is key in averting violent circumstances from occurring. They discovered how “communications made about the attack plot were most often observed by the potter's friends, classmates, and peers”.

“Schools and communities must take tangible steps to facilitate student reporting when classmates observe threatening or concerning behavior.”

NTAC explains how at the core of targeted school violence is a lack of communication when concerning behavior takes place, further emphasizing the vital need for resources and training. This conclusion was drawn after analyzing 67 averted school attack plots within the past ten years.

ROE 9 Regional Superintendent Gary Lewis says their mission is to equip school personnel with various tools to address behavior before it escalates to harmful violent acts. The initiative local PD’s and schools are taking to train together is further strengthening collaboration among them to foster faster responses and prevention of school violence.

“All parties involved put school safety in the forefront every day” says Lewis.

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