State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require school districts to establish threat assessment teams to intervene when K-through 12 students’ safety is threatened.
Forensic psychologist Dr. Kristine Kienlen testified before House lawmakers, and said, “Once the school’s being evacuated or is in lock down because of a school shooting, it’s really too late because then there are deaths and injuries and hundreds if not thousands traumatized. So, what we really need is a preventative approach and that is what the threat assessment approach is about.”
Representative Keith Franke of St. Paul Park said the bill is about prevention.
“You know, when the next school shooting happens, the question will be asked, ‘What made this person snap, what could we have done?’ Virtually every one of these attacks is a predatory crime, methodically planned and executed, therein lies the promise of the threat assessment,” he added.
The bill would establish an oversight committee and appropriate money to the Education Commissioner to fund the assessment teams. Those teams would be allowed to obtain criminal history and health record information on individuals they believe pose a threat and report their findings to the superintendent.