Pennsylvania K-12 Threat Assessment Training & Technical Assistance Network
About the Network
In June 2019, Act 18 of 2019 amended the Public School Code of 1949 by adding Article XIII-E, Threat Assessment. Among its provisions, Article XIII-E requires all school entities in Pennsylvania to establish at least one Threat Assessment Team by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. The teams are responsible for “the assessment of and intervention with students whose behavior may indicate a threat to the safety of the student, other students, school employees, school facilities, the community or others.” Threat Assessment Teams are also responsible for providing training, education, and information to members of their school communities.
PCCD have partnered with Risk and Strategic Management, Corporation (RSM) to deliver a statewide Threat Assessment capacity building project to assist Pennsylvania school entities in meeting this new mandate, and to support Threat Assessment Teams as they are established and begin to operate. Working under the strategic direction of PCCD, RSM have:
- Developed a comprehensive Train the Trainer (T3) program, available online and as face-to-face training materials, which gives Threat Assessment Team members and other personnel a foundation for:
o Learning about the threat assessment process and best practices for K-12 school settings;
o Understanding the requirements and responsibilities under Pennsylvania state law; and
o Effectively providing other members of school communities with training, education, and awareness of school-based threat assessment processes and procedures.
- Established a Pennsylvania K-12 Threat Assessment Technical Assistance web portal, providing access to the T3 materials, curated Threat Assessment resources freely available to all school entities, and a Technical Assistance requesting process to connect with subject matter experts.
To support school entity Threat Assessment Teams on an ongoing basis, the project will provide technical assistance through a Provider Network.
Comprising consultants and expertise from state partners, the Technical Assistance Provider Network aims to deliver responsive support to school entities in the form of advice, guidance and scenario-based training.
Other Pennsylvania Agencies, Programs & Services
There are a number of state-level agencies, programs, and initiatives already established that may be of interest to school-based threat assessment teams:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) serves as the state education agency and supports a number of initiatives focused on supporting safe and supportive school environments for students. PDE’s Office for Safe Schools provides resources and access to technical assistance across a wide range of areas which have touchpoints with Threat Assessment, and including, Mental Health and Trauma Informed Practices, Equity and Inclusion, School Climate, Bullying Prevention. The Office for Safe Schools’ Act 71 page provides an access point that can take school entities to a wide range of resources related to youth suicide awareness and prevention. In 2020, PDE also launched the Equitable Practices Hub to establish a coherent collection of resources, best practices, models, and guidance schools may use in promoting intentional equity in their communities.
- The Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program (SAP) is a systematic team process used to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning. SAP is designed to assist in identifying issues including alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and mental health issues which pose a barrier to a student’s success. The primary goal of the Student Assistance Program is to help students overcome these barriers so that they may achieve, advance, and remain in school.
- The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has supported Youth Mental Health First Aid and Question-Persuade-Refer (QPR) trainings across the commonwealth through both the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Youth Suicide Prevention Grant and the System of Care Partnership. Additional trainings on suicide risk assessment, safety planning, postvention, and family engagement have also been offered to schools through the GLS grant. Staff have also provided consultation for schools on policy development, as well as the selection of staff and student education and training programs. OMHSAS recently announced a new partnership with Crisis Text Line, a free and confidential service that is available nationally to provide support to those in crisis. Crisis Text Line may be accessed any time by texting “PA” to 741-741.
- Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) works with PDE’s Bureau of Special Education to provide access to a broad scope of resources and supports to schools, including professional development, webinars, on-site assistance, and other technical assistance.
The PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has developed an All-Hazards School Safety Planning Toolkit providing guidelines and information for schools, local education agencies, and communities to address a variety of crises and emergency situations that might impact their campuses.
Access our comprehensive online Pennsylvania Threat Assessment Team Member Train the Trainer Program, designed for school-based Threat Assessment Teams and others who are responsible for providing training, education, and awareness for Pennsylvania school communities on Act 18 and the threat assessment process.
Access Threat Assessment and Management publications, including PCCD’s Model K-12 Threat Assessment Procedures and Guidelines and influential research and operational guidance from the National Threat Assessment Center and others.