CIS’ standardized methodology for conducting threat assessments in schools.
In these circumstances, effective recognition of potential threats can facilitate intervention and implementation of a management plan before crisis occurs. As a result of this, it is important that schools protected under the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program have proper policies, procedures, and infrastructure for identifying, assessing, and managing potential threats.
The CIS Student Threat Assessment and Management System (C-STAMS) was created to provide a standardized methodology for conducting threat assessments in schools in support of the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program. If a CIS-protected school has an existing (and effective) system for conducting threat assessments, CIS will adapt its school-specific operations to the methodology of the existing system. However, if the new school does not have a threat assessment system in place, C-STAMS is used as a template for the design of a school-specific system.
As part of every new Guardian SafeSchool Program, CIS designs a school-specific Student Threat Assessment System based on the C-STAMS methodology. This activity typically includes authoring the STAS Plan and supporting documentation, training the STAS team members (school staff/faculty, school psychologists, and CIS personnel), and active partnership in conducting student threat assessments and managing STAS cases.
The C-STAMS methodology was designed with consideration of the principles for school threat assessments promoted by the US Secret Service as part of the Safe Schools Initiative in 2002 and considers the contemporary research of numerous experts in the fields of threat assessment and psychology (e.g., F. Calhoun, P. Deitz, J. Hoffmann, J. R. Meloy, etc.).
When a threat is received or behavior of concern is reported, the report is forwarded to designated parties for a preliminary credibility assessment (Phase One).
If the threat is deemed potentially credible, the Student Threat Assessment System (STAS) Team is notified and a Phase Two team assessment is conducted. The Phase Two team assessment involves a procedurally-based investigation of the threat including interviews with witnesses, parents, teachers, and the student of concern to ascertain specific details, identify and evaluate threat indicators and warning behaviors, and identify conditions that may be contributing to (or inhibiting) potential for violence. Through the process, information collected and team member observations are documented in a standardized format.
Upon completion of the investigation, the STAS Team assigns a Threat Estimate Rating to the threat based on evaluation of data and the C-STAMS Risk Rubric. Threat factors considered include the student’s history of behavior, specifics of the threat communications or behavior, accelerators and inhibitors, lifestyle factors, and situational pre-incident indicators.
Depending on the Threat Estimate, the STAS Team designs a threat management plan and initiates protective actions as necessary.
The following diagram describes the C-STAMS process.
For more information about the CIS Guardian SafeSchool Program® and optional solutions for protecting schools, please contact:
Craig Gundry, CPS, CHS-III
Vice President of Special Projects
Critical Intervention Services
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