Published February 25, 2019
The tragedy at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, redefined the nation, and compelled the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) to conduct research, training and consultation on threat assessment and prevention of various forms of targeted violence.
In 2002, NTAC published the “Safe School Initiative,” which served as the impetus for establishing threat assessment programs in schools, including the first annual seminar hosted at UB.
In response to the shootings last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, NTAC published “Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing School Violence.”
This report will provide a focus for the program for this year’s Safe Schools Initiative Seminar, “Reboot 2019: Preventing Targeted School Violence & Lessons Learned.”
The 16th annual seminar will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. March 21 in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. The event is free, but registration is required.
The goal of this year’s seminar is to update best practices for preventing school violence, and to learn firsthand about recovery following incidents of violence and tragedy.
Speaking at the seminar will be U.S. Secret Service agent John Bullwinkel, who will present the findings of the latest NTAC report, and Frank DeAngelis, principal of Columbine High School from 1996 through 2014. DeAngelis will provide a personal overview of the tragic event at the school through its aftermath, offering invaluable insights into managing the after-crisis with students, staff members, community members and never-ending media attention.
“The annual Safe School Initiative Seminar continues to provide an invaluable platform for the Secret Service and our many partners across upstate New York to further our efforts in enhancing school safety and preventing future incidents of targeted violence in our schools,” says Lewis Robinson, special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service, Buffalo Field Office.
“The Secret Service has long been a leader in our nation’s effort to prevent targeted violence in schools, and the National Threat Assessment Center has been at the forefront of this critical work. I am pleased to welcome back the National Threat Assessment Center for this year’s seminar.”
The lead sponsors of the Safe School Seminar include the U.S. Secret Service, Buffalo Field Office; UB’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention and University Events; the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of New York; the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; and corporate partner Utica National Insurance Group.
Amanda Nickerson, director of the Alberti Center, notes that the Safe Schools Seminar “will bring timely and important information to our partners working in schools and in law enforcement.”
“Frank DeAngelis, who rebuilt the Columbine school community with compassion, is committed to taking the lessons learned from his experience to help others to prevent school violence,” Nickerson says. “We are also honored to have the U.S. Secret Service providing the latest information about threat assessment, which continues to be a best practice in school violence prevention.”
The program is open to all school personnel who deal with school or building safety issues, including grade school, middle school, high school and district faculty, staff, administrators, counselors, psychologists and school resource officers, as well as school board members; college/university administrators, police officers and other law enforcement officials; first responders; elected officials; and school transportation professionals.
The seminar’s community partners include Charter Communications, Doyle Security Systems, Erie Community College, Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Leadership Group (Buffalo State College), New York State Police and the Western New York Educational Service Council.
For more information and to register, visit the safe schools initiative’s webpage.