How to Implement Threat Assessment in Your School

Section 2 of the School Threat Assessment Toolkit
This section stresses the vital role of threat assessment in school safety plans, highlighting the importance of equitable implementation. Considerations include existing safety measures, staff availability, and community backing for adopting this approach.

Explore the Toolkit

Section 2 Excerpt

Pathways to Violence

Research on juvenile homicide identified three common patterns of youth violence that are useful in recognizing the variety of backgrounds, motives, and risk factors leading to violence. It is important to note that not all youth can be distinctly classified into one of these pathways. Youth on any given pathway may not demonstrate every common characteristic listed on that pathway.

Regardless of the number of categories, the relevance of threat assessment is to recognize that there are multiple pathways leading to violence and that no single profile is feasible. Instead, school teams should examine each case holistically to identify whether a youth is moving down a behavioral pathway toward violence and to respond with interventions and support to prevent violence. 

Steps Toward Violence

In the days or weeks preceding an attack, the three pathways can show convergency around typical behaviors that demonstrate planning and preparation for violence. At least five steps toward violence can be distinguished, although they are not strictly sequential or mutually exclusive.

Stages of School Threat Assessment

Knowing the pathways to violence is an important first step for threat assessment teams to recognize concerning behavior. In order for teams to complete a threat assessment following a concern or report, they need to move through stages:

  • Identification
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Evaluation, monitoring, and accountability
Section 2 PDF

Topic Areas

Threat Assessment

Crisis Timeline

Prevention Planning


School Personnel

Toolkits & Guides