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Study Spotlights Virginia School Safety

September 6, 2017

School HallwayThe University of Virginia recently released the results of a study on the effectiveness of threat assessment teams in schools and Maryland Security Professionals is pleased to share this encouraging report. The study affirms a statewide effort by Virginia to effectively assess and respond to threats, improving school safety in 785 elementary, middle and high schools.

Virginia schools interested in a free safety audit of their facilities can contact the experienced security team at Maryland Security Professionals. We provide cost-effective, customized school security services, including trained guards, camera surveillance systems and more.

Virginia implements statewide school threat assessment teams

In response to the 2012 shootings in Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, Virginia expanded its use of threat assessment teams to determine the seriousness of threats in schools. It became the first state in the nation to require these threat assessment teams in every public school.

The threat assessment teams are authorized by their school boards and are comprised of multidisciplinary groups of staff members who have expertise in instruction, counseling, law enforcement, and school administration.

The teams focus on threat assessment and intervention when any individual who has contact with the school poses a threat. Once a team makes a preliminary determination that an individual either poses a threat of violence, exhibits significantly disruptive behavior, or needs assistance, a state statute allows the team to obtain that person’s criminal history and pertinent health records.

Benefits of VA school security model

Though Virginia only recently adopted the threat assessment team model statewide, it has been in the works and field-tested for over a decade. The University of Virginia has conducted six studies on its effectiveness, beginning in 2004. The data suggests that the model results in a more appropriate and effective response to threats, as well as improved response to at-risk students.

Another benefit highlighted in the study is the better outcome for students compared to no-tolerance policies, which treat all students the same regardless of the seriousness of the offense. The threat assessment model, on the other hand, is associated with reduced student aggression, lower rates of long-term suspensions and expulsions, and more improved student perception of the fairness of school discipline.

Virginia school security services

Are you looking for a proven company to provide effective, affordable security system installation in Virginia? The security experts at Maryland Security Professionals take the time to understand the unique safety needs of a location in order to design custom security solutions for schools. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary security analysis of your VA school site.

Additional “VA school security services” resources:

  1. Newsplex, Study looks at threat assessment teams in Virginia schools, https://www.newsplex.com/content/news/Study-looks-at-threat-assessment-teams-in-Virginia-schools-441646453.html
  2. University of Virginia Curry School of Education, Threat Assessment Research, https://curry.virginia.edu/research/projects/threat-assessment/threat-assessment-research
  3. Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, Threat Assessment in Virginia Public Schools: Model Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines, https://www.dcjs.virginia.gov/sites/dcjs.virginia.gov/files/publications/law-enforcement/threat-assessment-model-policies-procedures-and-guidelinespdf.pdf
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