The recent mass shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., And a supermarket in Buffalo, NY, have called on higher education institutions to step up their efforts to prevent gun violence on campus.
During a webinar hosted by the United Educators, an insurance company with 1,600 K-12 and members of higher education on Tuesday, education leaders were instructed on how to secure their institutions. Marissa Randazo, executive director of threat management at Ontic, a defensive intelligence software company, said behavioral threat assessment on campus could help prevent mass shootings.
“What we know from research is that people who shoot at K-12 in school, as well as in higher AD, usually follow an identifiable progression of behavior, which means they come up with some idea to do harm first,” Randazzo said.
Behavioral threat assessment teams are the best available tool to identify someone “on the path to violence,” from the concept to the execution of the crime, Randajo said. In higher education, these national teams typically include campus police, administrators, and mental health professionals. But there is no reliable information on how many K-12 school districts or colleges use teams to assess behavioral threats among them.
“I want the most important message to keep everyone away from this is that it is absolutely possible to prevent violence in our educational institutions,” Randazzo said. Schools, colleges and universities are not necessarily antidotes to the problems they face. ”
Randajo says a person planning a mass shooting often informs other people about their plans. Criminals often post messages on social media or even mention their motives in homework assignments. He noted that many criminals reveal their plans because they want to stop.
Sometimes criminals commit suicide, he adds, and see the masses as their only way out. Professionals equipped to detect threatening behavior can intervene before reaching that point and guide them toward mental health support.
“School incidents are preventable because those who are involved এবং and they often follow this recognizable path of student violence,” Randajo said. “We stand a chance to identify someone who is on that path before they reach that last step and before they do harm.”
Randazzo also recommended that colleges and universities establish a relationship with the local Federal Bureau of Investigation field office, which could work with the Department of Campus Security or Public Safety.
“One of the things we’ve seen do really well in higher AD, in particular, is that there are dedicated liaison officers in the FBI and all major FBI field offices whose job is to outreach colleges and universities within their jurisdiction,” Randazzo said.
Massive shooting on campus
Colleges and universities have seen fair share of their gun violence, in some cases implementing preventive measures in response. In 2007, a gunman killed 32 people and injured 17 at Virginia Tech. Since then, Virginia Tech and other organizations have installed locks inside classroom doors and replaced double door hardware with handles that cannot be chained and locked together.
Virginia Tech Shooting also led to changes to the 1990 Clary Act, a federal law that obliges organizations to collect and report on campus crime statistics and directs organizations to create an emergency alert system to send information as soon as possible.
Other campuses that have experienced mass shootings include the University of Northern Illinois, where a former sociology student shot and killed five and injured 17 in 2008, and Umpqua Community College, where a student shot and killed nine and injured eight in 2015. Did.
Pedro Noguera, dean of the Russian School of Education at the University of Southern California, is part of a coalition of researchers who unveiled an updated eight-point plan after the shooting in Ubala, calling for an evidence-based approach to reducing gun violence in U.S. Noguera. He said the eight-point plan could be implemented directly in higher education institutions.
Among other things, the plan recommends that schools and higher education institutions ensure that they have adequate counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers for potential risk factors such as mental illness. At the same time, it warns that violence is not always a product of mental illness.
The plan recommends creating a national program to train mental health and law enforcement partners to work together in crisis intervention and threat assessment teams. The program should allow people to report anonymously who may display warning signs but also protect identified individuals from being unjustly convicted.
“I think there has been a real emphasis on prevention-in order to track warning signals for colleges and universities,” Noguera said. “Because what we do know is that often when someone is connected to the campus, others know in advance that a problem has been created, either a social media post or a comment they’ve heard.”
Noguiera added that most higher education institutions need to conduct active shooter drills. Arizona State University, the University of Utah and Omaha University of Nebraska already conduct such training.
“Unfortunately, we are all vulnerable,” Noguera said. “I think any place where large numbers of people gather regularly is risky. We have to take it very seriously. And that’s certainly true for colleges and universities. “
For Noguera, the eight-point plan allows organizations to implement immediate changes without waiting for national law.
“Even in the absence of leadership from policy makers, there are steps that can be taken by those who run large corporations to address security,” Noguera said. “And so let them be spectators. It would be great if we had the leadership to reduce access to firearms in Washington and state capitals, but there is no way this could happen anytime soon. “
Temple University is taking a community-based approach to preventing gun violence, says Katrina Roman, a professor of criminal justice at Temple. After a student was shot dead near campus in November, Temple created a task force to reduce violence that included students, teachers and staff, and community members.
The company has also created an incentive for homeowners this year – providing them with a grant of up to 500 2,500 to upgrade security by installing lights or cameras. And parents of students living off-campus even stepped in to hire personal security guards to patrol the campus in March.
“We have a dedicated security force that is dedicated and works closely with the surrounding area. We were at the end of what we were doing to support our students to make them feel safe,” Roman said. “I would say that because of the death of this student, the temple has done much more since then. But we have always had very strong innovative initiatives and our police force has been cooperative. “
Temple’s newly formed task force is a model for how organizations can work with communities to protect both at a time when indiscriminate gun violence threatens everyone.
“I think universities have realized that they can’t do business normally,” Roman said. “It simply came to our notice then. How do we cooperate? The right hand knows what the left hand is doing – so we have a lot of influence, right, that will benefit our students and it will benefit the community? “