Kudos to Wilkes County school officials for a soon-to-be implemented school threat assessment system that provides a way for school staff, students and parents to anonymously report safety-related concerns.

Last February, all Wilkes school administrators, student services staff and Wilkes Sheriff’s Office deputies serving as school resource officers participated in training for the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment program.

The goal of this initiative is to have threat assessment teams at each Wilkes school respond to all reported concerns while following the “Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines,” as developed by Dr. Dewey Cornell and his team at the University of Virginia.

The guidelines are proactive and flexible violence prevention steps are used when a person threatens to commit a violent act or engages in threatening behavior. It’s clear that threatening behavior is a key warning sign that must be recognized to prevent tragedies such as mass shootings.

They provide a systematic approach to investigating threatening actions or statements to ultimately prevent violence.

They include identification, assessment and management of threats with the goal of resolving conflicts or problems before they escalate into violence.

The goal is to help school teams resolve less serious, transient threats quickly while greater attention is focused on more serious, substantive threats.

The guidelines will also help schools provide social, emotional and behavioral supports (such as school-based therapy and the new BEST Academy classes) to students in a timely and effective manner.

The new threat assessment system is the latest of many proactive steps taken to help assure everyone, but especially students, feel safe and are safe in the Wilkes County Schools.

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