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School threat assessment teams offer potential safety solution

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GREENDALE, Wis. (CBS-58) -- A pair of school shootings and several threats have shaken families, school staff, and communities this week across Wisconsin. But there are solutions to protect our kids. 

One solution to school violence is having in school teams of professionals who can evaluate whether a student poses a danger to others. That's something Greendale schools has been doing for the last five years.

There are alternatives when they are feeling upset and have a grievance, violence is not an option," said school social worker Trish Kilpin. 

She said the district has teams in each building. If anyone raises a concern about a student, those team members will investigate what's bothering them and find solutions to help, as well as measures to stop any violence.

"Maybe we check their computer history a little more frequently," said school psychologist Sue Williams.

She said a student may need mental health treatment, or a mentor to work through what's bothering them. And students may have to be escorted or searched on a routine basis based on their risk. 

"We've had many students who have worked through this process and we've seen them be successful," said Kilpin.

These teams have been advocated for ever since the Columbine massacre 20 years ago. Because students leave clues before they act out... and picking up those clues can keep schools safe.

Greedale schools isn't doing this by themselves, they also helped the state come up with guidelines for others districts looking to establish these threat assessment teams

Wisconsin does not require schools to have these threat assessment teams. However, schools who were awarded state safety improvement grants, will need to add them and finish training by August 2020.


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