Experts discuss what makes a school threat a credible threat

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re digging deeper to learn what exactly makes a school threat credible and when school leaders should call parents and police.

Executive Director with the National Association of School Resource Officers Mo Canady said it can be really difficult to determine if a threat is credible, whether its from inside the school or outside. He said SROs get trained in behavior threat assessment that’s why all school threats should be taken to them.

“Especially like what we have been dealing with lately, determining whether they are credible or not is complicated to say the least,” Canady said. “This can be a really complex process. It requires chasing down a lot of rumors sometimes and following a trail that sometimes gets cold in a hurry.”

Canady said each threat should be taken seriously, but not all threats will cause lock downs or school to cancel. He couldn’t share much on how exactly they make the determination, but he said email threats or called in threats can sometimes be the most difficult to determine whether they are serious or not. But, he said SRO’s can’t do much if they aren’t made aware of concerns.

“When it comes to threat assessment, it is not just a law enforcement issue,” Canady said. “It takes the entire schools safety team to really walk through a proper threat assessment. The idea is that SRO’s and administrators are working hand in hand and they are sharing information.”

Canady said credible and non credible threats can cause trauma to students and staff. He said parents need to remind students to be careful with what they do and say, because most school threats will be taken seriously.

“High school age, absolutely,” Canady said. “Parents need to be talking to the kids and helping them understand that the problem they can face in making these threats. When really, at the end of the day when we discover who made the threat, that really is a criminal act.

Canady said some of the best kinds of tips an SRO can get on a potential threat often come from other students, parents, and teachers. He said it’s important to build that relationship with your school’s SRO, so you can take a concern directly to them.

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