School Shooters Exhibited Unreported Warning Signs, Secret Service Study Finds

November 8, 2019 by Dan McCue
Students are evacuated by police out of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after the shooting.

WASHINGTON – Students who have committed deadly school shootings in recent years exhibited worrisome warning signs that went unreported to authorities, a U.S. Secret Service study released Thursday says.

The report, “Protecting America’s Schools: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence,” is the result of 20 years of analysis of these tragedies conducted by the Secret Services’ National Threat Assessment Center.

Researchers examined 41 school attacks from 2008 through 2017, and had unprecedented access to a trove of sensitive data from law enforcement including police reports, investigative files and nonpublic records.

While the center found there is no single profile that defines a student attacker or the type of school that has been targeted, it did find some commonalities.

For instance, many of the student shooters were badly bullied and had a history of disciplinary trouble.

Most bracingly however, all of the young people who carried out the 41 attacks exhibited concerning behaviors that someone observed but did not report, either out of fear, misjudging the immediacy of the situation, or believing they had dissuaded the attacker.

In most cases, the attackers communicated a prior threat to their target or communicated their intentions to carry out an attack.

In at least four cases, attackers wanted to emulate other school shootings, including those at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech University and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“While communities can advance many school safety measures on their own, our experience tells us that keeping schools safe requires a team effort and the combined resources of the federal, state, and local governments; school boards; law enforcement; and the public,” said Secret Service Director James Murray in the forward to the report.

“With this study, the Secret Service provides an unprecedented base of facts about school violence, as well as an updated methodology and practical guidelines for prevention,” he said. “We encourage all of our public safety partners and education partners to review the information within, and to use it to guide the best practices for maintaining a safe learning environment for all children.”

The information gleaned through the research will now be used to help train school officials and law enforcement on how to better identify students who may be planning an attack and how to stop them before they strike.

“School safety is our collective responsibility as a nation and we must remain one step ahead of tragedy,” said Dr. Lina Alathari, chief of the National Threat Assessment Center, in a written statement. “The Secret Service mission uniquely positions the agency to equip our schools with the most comprehensive intelligence in the development of prevention and threat assessment programs.”

The Center has already scheduled dozens of training sessions and presentations of the new research in communities across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami.

The outreach is similar to the effort the Secret Service carried out following the publication of the agency’s school threat assessment model last year.

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

Rival Companies to Work Together in COVID Fight
Health
Rival Companies to Work Together in COVID Fight
March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff

Pharmceutical giant Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved coronavirus vaccine in an effort to expand supply more quickly, the White House announcedTuesday. The partnership will help advance the administration's goal of speeding up production of the single-dose vaccine and accelerate... Read More

Judge Holds Off on Approval of TikTok Settlement
Social Media
Judge Holds Off on Approval of TikTok Settlement
March 2, 2021
by Sara Wilkerson

CHICAGO - A federal judge on Tuesday put off approval of a proposed $92 million class-action settlement by the social media app TikTok, wanting to give attorneys at least 21 days to address his questions about the proposal. U.S. District Judge John Lee gave the attorneys... Read More

Supreme Court Appears Likely to Uphold Arizona Voting Restrictions
Supreme Court
Supreme Court Appears Likely to Uphold Arizona Voting Restrictions
March 2, 2021
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – All six conservative justices on the Supreme Court appeared inclined Tuesday to support voting restrictions imposed in Arizona that critics say discriminate against racial minorities.  The case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (Consolidated), is one of the most watched of the current Supreme Court... Read More

Texas Ends Statewide Mask Mandate, Opens State 100%
In The States
Texas Ends Statewide Mask Mandate, Opens State 100%
March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff

LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded the state’s face mask mandate Tuesday afternoon, declaring that it’s time for Texans to get back to business.   “Under no circumstance can someone be punished for not wearing a mask,” Abbott said as he was surrounded by local... Read More

Apprenticeships Benefit Individuals and Employers
Employment
Apprenticeships Benefit Individuals and Employers
March 2, 2021
by Victoria Turner

WASHINGTON - The Department of Labor’s apprenticeship programs benefit individuals seeking to master skills while gainfully employed, and provides employers with the talent needed to fill the current workforce shortage, according to two Congressmen yesterday. Apprenticeships differ from paid internships in that they are not temporary,... Read More

Vernon Jordan, Activist, Former Clinton Adviser, Has Died
In The News
Vernon Jordan, Activist, Former Clinton Adviser, Has Died

ATLANTA (AP) — Vernon Jordan, who rose from humble beginnings in the segregated South to become a champion of civil rights before reinventing himself as a Washington insider and corporate influencer, has died, according to a statement from his daughter. He was 85.  Jordan's daughter, Vickee... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top