The Texas School Safety Center, or TxSSC, at Texas State University has been awarded a $1.5 million grant in support of school behavioral threat assessment programs. The grant will assist the center in developing an evidence-based approach for identifying individuals who may pose a threat and provide proactive interventions when necessary.

The three-year grant will fund a program called "Operationalizing School Behavioral Threat Assessment: Enhancing a Statewide Violence Prevention Model through Target Technical Assistance."

The specifics

“In an effort to strengthen statewide fidelity of implementation, sustainment and enhancement of the school behavioral threat assessment process, the TxSSC saw a need to work directly with district teams to assist with taking the theoretical knowledge gained in the training and put it into practice at the school level,” TxSSC Director Kathy Martinez-Prather said.

According to a news release, the project will expand technical assistance sessions on threat assessment, and prioritize rural districts and districts with a functioning school behavioral threat assessment team for less than three years.

Texas public school districts have been required to establish a trained multidisciplinary school behavioral threat assessment team to serve each campus since 2019 due to the Texas Education Code.

Diving in deeper

“The goal of a threat assessment is to identify students of concern, assess their risk for engaging in violence or other harmful activities, and identify intervention strategies to manage that risk,” according to a report published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Threat Assessment Center.

The TxSSC provides state-mandated training and resources to help districts implement the school behavioral threat assessment process.

During the behavioral threat assessment technical assistance sessions, district teams will meet with a specialist who will provide customized guidance and resources to the unique needs of each district, and develop an action plan. Sessions will also focus on intervention management and the importance of mental health support for students in need, according to a news release.