The use of behavioral threat assessment (BTA) as a strategy for school safety is becoming more prevalent. However, there is limited information regarding its implementation and the necessary elements for a successful BTA program.

This report presents key findings from a study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which examined the implementation of BTA in high schools throughout Texas. Texas is one of several states that have recently made BTA mandatory in K–12 schools. Additionally, this report provides an overview of BTA models implemented in schools and a review of existing literature on the implementation and outcomes of BTA.

Key Findings

  • Most BTA teams are multidisciplinary.
  • Central reporting mechanisms are in place, but students often report potential threats to teachers.
  • Threat assessments are conducted in line with key components of the BTA model.
  • It is difficult to find time for BTA team meetings.
  • Process tracking and data management are often decentralized, but software can be prohibitively expensive.
  • It can be difficult to connect students with community-based resources.
  • School and community resources play a significant role in facilitating BTA team success.
  • A positive school culture contributes to BTA team success.
  • Consistent communication is key to success.

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