Contemporary School Psychology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 109–115 | Cite as

School Threat Assessment in the USA: Lessons Learned from 15 Years of Teaching and Using the Federal Model to Prevent School Shootings

  • William Modzeleski
  • Marisa Reddy RandazzoEmail author


This article provides a brief history of the development of the federal model of school threat assessment, which was created by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education based upon findings from their empirical research on school shootings across the USA. The article reviews the major findings from that behavioral research, which demonstrates how it is possible to prevent school shootings and other targeted violence in school. The article also describes the components of this evidenced-based federal model and implementation guidance for schools and districts within the USA as well as other countries. The article concludes with the lessons learned by the authors and their colleagues in using the federal school threat assessment model to handle individual school threat cases and in training tens of thousands of other school, law enforcement, and mental health professionals how to use threat assessment to prevent school violence.


School threat assessment Threat assessment history School shootings School violence Violence prevention Threat assessment model Threat assessment teams Evidence-based Federal model US threat assessment model 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of Interest

Author William Modzeleski has received honoraria for presentations on school threat assessment. Author Marisa Randazzo co-owns a company that provides consulting and training services on threat assessment for schools, colleges, workplaces, and others. Authors Modzeleski and Randazzo also provide pro bono school threat assessment consulting and training services.


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Copyright information

© California Association of School Psychologists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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