An Interim Report of the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools

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School safety, School violence, Risk, Risk analysis, Threat, Law enforcement, Safe School Initiative, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Education


Most official statistics show that rates of school violence have steadily decreased since 1993. As reports from the U.S. Department of Education and others have shown, school is one of the safest places for our nation’s children. However, several high-profile shootings in schools over the past decade have resulted in increased fear among students, parents, and educators. The Secret Service Safe School Initiative focuses on a rare but significant component of the problem of school violence – incidents of targeted violence in school. “Targeted violence” is a term developed by the Secret Service to refer to any incident of violence where a known (or knowable) attacker selects a particular target prior to their violent attack. The target may be an identified (or identifiable) person, such as a particular classmate or teacher, or it could be a building, such as the school itself. Other kinds of problems in American schools are far more common than the targeted attacks in schools that have occurred in Jefferson County, Colorado, Jonesboro, Arkansas, West Paducah, Kentucky, and other communities. Moreover, children and adolescents face many other problems in school and out. However, the tremendous impact of each one of these school shootings – on the school, the surrounding community, and the nation – and the increased fear these events have engendered have made it necessary for school officials, parents, and others to consider steps they can take to prevent incidents of targeted violence in their schools.


U.S.Secret Service National Tehreat Assesment Center Safe School Initiative: Summary of preliminary findings