Threat Assessment Workshop

The old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" has stood the test of time and is now proving itself to be an effective strategy for area school leaders and other professionals to use in improving safety for their students, parents, and staff members.

With this goal in the forefront, West Shore ESD Assistant Director of Special Education Amanda Unger and the ESD Administrative Team are coordinating a Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management Training on January 17 at West Shore Community College. 

The training is open to community agencies, local school districts and units of law enforcement which serve Lake, Oceana, and Mason counties.

The training will be led expert Dr. Melissa Reeves. Along with her formal presentation, she will work with more than 50 school, mental health, and law enforcement leaders to develop processes necessary for identifying behavioral threats and implementing appropriate interventions to keep our students, parents, and school staff safe.

"Even though the threat assessment process is new for us, everyone is rolling up their sleeves to make sure the program is successful," said Chad Skiba, the behavior management and safety coordinator with the West Shore ESD. "Sadly, the threat of violence is not something any of us can ignore today."

Skiba believes it's important to utilize a fact-based, systematic process for identifying, assessing, and managing potentially dangerous or violent situations.

"We're taking an all-hands-on-deck approach," he said. "Getting more people trained in the threat assessment framework will help us engage with students prior to they choose violence as an option. We'll be able to better target additional support and resources."  

Dr. Unger agreed.

"We want to thoughtfully and caringly identify those students who may pose a threat to themselves and others," she said. "This not only helps prevent a crisis from occurring, it connects those students and their families with on-going help from the community."

Unger believes teamwork is the key ingredient.

"No counselor, sheriff's deputy, school principal, or psychologist can carry out this process alone," she said. "This is why the January 17 training is critical. When it comes to proactively identifying and responding to potential threats, a number of pieces to the entire puzzle need to come together. We're blessed to live in a region that has so many dedicated and talented professionals involved."