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Colonial’s Crisis Response Teams review PA’s Threat Assessment model

Colonial’s Crisis Response Teams review PA’s Threat Assessment model

On the first day of summer vacation, members from Colonial’s K-12 Crisis Response Teams — made up of principals, district office staff, psychologists, counselors, teachers, and nurses — took part in professional development to determine if a student is threatening to do harm to themselves or others — and review what to do about it.

"While it may seem to be a more relevant issue at the older grade levels, it's important at every level," said Christy Sfida, School Nurse at Conshohocken Elementary School. “You’d be surprised what kids at any age are going through these days.”

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Montgomery County Intermediate Unit School Counselor Maggie Young, LPC, presented on mental health disorders and why some students choose violence. 

Threats can be:

  • expressed or communicated behaviorally, orally, visually, in writing, electronically, or through any other means. 
  • communicated directly to the target or to a third party. 
  • deduced through an individual’s behavior. 

While the model, created by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, has only recently been adopted statewide, Colonial has followed the protocols for the past year.

“We as a district had a little head start, so this is more of a refresher for a lot of people,” said Marla Spivey, Assistant Principal at Colonial Middle School. “But it’s good, because we’re reviewing the flow chart so that we can see what steps we need to take if someone is posing a true threat, versus how the path changes for a student who might be having a mental health crisis but is not posing an imminent threat.” 

Pennsylvania’s Threat Assessment Model also recognizes the school environment, as well as programs like Safe2Say Something that provide ways for people to easily and anonymously report concerning behavior.

“Part of the threat assessment process is to create a positive school climate that supports reporting and helps students and the school community feel like they have a role in keeping the school safe,” said Bridget Abrams, LPC, one of the two Montgomery County Intermediate Unit School Counselors who led the training.  

The Threat Assessment training was paid for by a School Mental Health & Safety and Security grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The grant also covers additional counseling services and a mindfulness/yoga program at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School to help reduce anxiety. 

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Report concerns 24/7 through Safe2Say Something

Safe2Say Something is a youth violence prevention program run by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General. The program teaches youth and adults how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, from individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and to “say something” before it is too late. With Safe2Say Something, it’s easy and confidential to report safety concerns to help prevent violence and tragedies.

Even during the summer months, you can report concerns to the anonymous tip line: 1-844-SAF2SAY (1-844-723-2729), online, or through the app. For more information or to make a report online, click here for the Safe2Say Something website