New videos help train Ohio schools to use threat assessment

By Kantele Franko - Associated Press

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio is sharing free video training to help more school districts use threat assessment strategies to identify concerning behavior and prevent targeted violence.

The online videos released Wednesday total about three hours and feature experts discussing how to create and use threat assessment teams, providing useful information not just for educators and law enforcement but parents and students as well, Attorney General Dave Yost said.

Too often in cases such as school shootings, officials learn afterward that someone knew something was amiss but didn’t speak up or know how to address it, Yost said.

“This aims to make sure in every school district there is a somebody to reach out to, that there are people who are trained to know the warning signs and are prepared to take action,” he said.

Yost said some of Ohio’s 600-plus districts already use threat assessment, though he couldn’t say how many have teams focused on that.

A multidisciplinary approach involving counselors, teachers, administrators and school resource officers is the most comprehensive way to help identify students in distress and intervene before they resort to violence, said Lina Alathari, the chief of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center. The center helped the state assemble the training information.

The state is also offering $500 grants for law enforcement officers whose work is focused on school safety if they complete the training and agree to help create threat assessment teams in their schools.

By Kantele Franko

Associated Press