Secondary School Campus

The incidence of aggressive, bullying and violent behavior can be found on secondary school campuses across the nation. This kind of behavior is incredibly disruptive to the classroom, but unfortunately most plans to deal with it are reactive. In other words, they are designed to manage the problem once it arises, but very few deal with bullying, fights or worse in a preventative way. Case in point, in the 2017 school crime and safety report, released annually by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 92% of public schools have a plan to deal with a school shooting. The high percentage is commendable, but sadly these are plans that are designed to be enacted only after the shooting occurs. Very few schools can offer with any degree of reliability a plan to recognize and intervene before a shooting occurs. The Center for Aggression Management is unique in that we have developed a scientifically reliable approach to recognizing students who are on a path to violence and effective methods of intervention.

  1. Current Proposed Solution:

    Hire School Resource Officers (SROs) to protect school campuses.

    Analysis:

    More School Resource Officers (SROs), may seem like a solution until you ask yourself: do we want to reliably prevent, or simply react faster, to the next school shooting? From the Moment of Commitment when an assailant decides to pull his weapon and start shooting to when the first round is discharged is just two seconds. The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) agrees that no SRO can reliably be on scene in just two seconds. They will do what they have been trained to do as part of Active Shooter Training: step over those dead, dying and/or wounded victims to get to the shooter. Is this an acceptable solution to you? Will it be acceptable to the parents of your students?

  2. Current Proposed Solution:

    Become more diligent in conducting mental health assessments.

    Analysis:

    Increasing the number of mental health assessments conducted on students may improve their mental health, but it hasn’t proven effective at identifying school shooters in advance of their heinous acts. Virginia Tech’s active shooter, Seung-Hui Cho, murdered 33 innocent students and teachers, wounded 23 others, and then he took his own life. He was mental health assessed on three different occasions, and in each he was deemed to be “not at risk of hurting himself or others.” The Parkland Shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was also mental health assessed and deemed to be “not at risk of hurting himself or others.” Pima Community College’s Jared Lee Loughner shot Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and others near Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011, and was charged with 19 counts of murder and attempted murder. Loughner clearly had a thought disorder and was probably schizophrenic, one of the scariest of mental illnesses. However, we know that of all schizophrenics only 0.002% have murdered another person. How do we get from the 0.002% of schizophrenics who would murder people, to “this is your next shooter”? We can’t. Are we going to put all individuals with schizophrenia in asylums to protect us from the 0.002%? Not likely. Added to which, federal regulations often forbid the sharing of mental health assessments (HIPAA Regulations) or any assessments that include culture, gender, education and so much more (FERPA and/or the Civil Rights Act of 1964). How can a school district get out in front of the next shooting when incumbered by these regulations? Finally, current methods used are far too subjective, words like scary, strange, weird, and menacing can quickly overwhelm school safety specialists who have been charged with protecting students. These subjective references can take school safety specialists down the rabbit hole of "he said, she said," which can also lead to discrimination and possible lawsuits. In the end, our assessment is that mental health assessments fail us in identifying school shooters before they act.

  3. Current Proposed Solution:

    Create a threat assessment teams.

    Analysis:

    Threat assessment by its very definition is an assessment of an existing threat, you are reacting to a threat, not preventing it. The hope of a Threat Assessment Teams is to identify an initial lessor threat and thus prevent a subsequent greater threat, but there is no assurance that the initial lesser threat will not be a threat to life or limb; which is the case with each of these past shootings. If we are to prevent the next school shooting, we must get out in front of the next threat. There are those who approach Threat with “Threat Management” probing for any indication of future violence, but too often these become mired in controversy due to subjectivity, lack of meaningful application, intuition or fear of HIPAA, FERPA or Civil Rights Act violations.

  4. Current Proposed Solution:

    School districts initiate an effort to fortify their campuses, hardening their targets.

    Analysis:

    Hardening schools like penitentiaries quickly can become extraordinarily expensive, and, as with the Parkland Shooting, these investments can be thwarted easily when students (shooter or co-conspirator) simply pull the fire alarm, and all entrances and exits must open immediately exposing the campus and students.

  5. Current Proposed Solution:

    School districts develop programs to enable select staff members to conceal carry to combat a future shooter.

    Analysis:

    Florida’s Guardian Program, as an example, permits selected individuals with extensive training or credentials to conceal carry in school to respond to a school shooter. This is being rejected outright by most school districts, because local law enforcement does not want a repeat of what happened at the University of Central Florida in 2005. As an off-duty plainclothes UCF campus police officer drew his weapon and fired it up in the air on under-age students tailgate drinking before a UCF game, an Orlando reserve uniformed police officer arrived and shot and killed the UCF campus police officer. An Officer arrives on scene ready to neutralize the threat only to find two individuals with weapons aimed at each other, which person does the officer shoot? You can see the dilemma.

According to the landmark study conducted by the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Justice on Targeted Violence in Schools (2000), there is a significant difference between profiling and identifying a student on the path to violence. “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.” It continues to offer the answer, “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack. The ultimate question to answer is whether a student is on a path to a violent attack.” Using techniques referred to by the FBI and the Secret Service, we are able to identify the sequential, successive precursors to school violence and thereby prevent future violence. These same methods can be used to identify the precursors and prevent bullying, discrimination, and the loss of trust. Our Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS) offers a reliable solution to the aggressive behavior that continues to permeate our schools as confirmed by the FBI on December 16, 2013. As chief of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, Andre Simmons states their ability to prevent violence is predicated on identifying a person who is “on a pathway to violence.” The Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS) provides scientifically reliable, intuitive, objective, measurable, human-based, observables, which do not violate HIPAA, FERPA or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. CAPS offers students, teachers, faculty, staff and parents the ability to reliably “see something and say something” without bias or fear of losing their reputation or jobs. This means that everyone within a school environment possessing CAPS skills will more readily and reliably say something when they see something. John D. Byrnes, D.Hum., Founder and CEO of the Center for Aggression Management can share with you a comprehensive understanding of how and why his Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS) works. If you have questions, call 407-718-5637 or e-mail JohnByrnes@AggressionManagement.com.

Bullying represents someone exhibiting bullying behavior, right? So, when you catch someone exhibiting such bullying behavior, you are reacting and not preventing it. Once you realize that bullying behavior begins at the Stage 4 of the Cognitive Aggression Continuum and you learn what Stages 3, 2 and 1 (the precursors to bullying) look like, you will be able to reliably prevent bullying from occurring. With out CAPS’s Cognitive Aggression Continuum this capability does not exist. Bullying, abuse, harassment, discrimination and conflict all begin at the Stage 4 of the Cognitive Aggression Continuum. Once school districts learn that bullying, abuse, harassment, discrimination and conflict are simply aggressive behavior which comes with precursors, they will be able to significantly reduce these malicious behaviors, reduce costs, and enhance student achievement scores. John D. Byrnes, D.Hum., Founder and CEO of the Center for Aggression Management can share with you a comprehensive understanding of how and why his Critical Aggression Prevention System (CAPS) works. If you have questions, call 407-718-5637 or e-mail JohnByrnes@AggressionManagement.com.

Parents have only one question when it comes to this topic, “What are you doing to prevent the next school shooting?” How are you answering this question? Are you telling them that their children are safe because you have SROs on campus? Are you telling them that you have fortifying your schools, and that you are providing mental health assessment, etc.? What are you telling these parents? CAPS is the only system that provides scientifically validated evidence-based results; thus you can demonstrate to parents in real time that your schools are “as safe as possible” the highest form of evidence-based Best Practices. Our scientifically validated Meter of Emerging Aggression (MEA) -- CAPS’s Central Analysis Tool -- illustrates aggressive behavior from the outset through Stage 9 of the Cognitive Aggression Continuum, the most lethal of all aggressors: the perpetrator of murder/suicide. At the end of a school year, we don’t expect to have a lot of students at Stages 7, 8, or 9. We expect a lot of students at Stages 3, 4, and 5. Obviously, if we diffuse a student at Stage 5, then we are also preventing any subsequent violence by that student. As a hypothetical example, say 100 students go through the CAPS system. Through use of MEA, we determine that 90 of these students no longer have the intent to harm and are back in school producing good academic work. Of the remaining 10, five are in counseling and the other five have been suspended while undergoing a full assessment as to their threat. Thus, we can demonstrate to parents, community and, if necessary, the media, through evidence-based results, that our schools are “as safe as possible.”

To learn more about caps training for your organization / institution to prevent next mass shooting.

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