Threat Assessment and Removing Students From Campus: What Risk Do You Want?

When a student is a risk to themselves or others, what do you do?  What if your institution cannot continue to take the risk of having the student on campus?

I argue (and so do many others…) that educational institutions need to think about these issues and develop plans to address them.  Specifically, schools need to develop and implement students of concern, threat assessment teams, and behavior intervention teams (names are different at different institutions).  Depending on your context, there are several resources available to administrators:

The core questions for administrators are,

  • Is the community safety better with or without this person on campus?
  • Can we keep the community safe with this person on-campus?
  • What risk do you want to take?  The risk of a lawsuit, or the risk of disruptions and violence?

Hopefully, prior to asking these questions your institution has also established, written, and practiced policies and procedures for reviewing troubled students.  What about for removing them?  For supervising them until their family can get them (especially if you are a K-12 institution)?  

A final thought to consider when doing work in this area, or any risk / safety work is, “Think of safety first, say what you do, do what you say, and check with counsel.”  

What are you doing RIGHT NOW to advance campus safety?


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