State law regulation or district policy requires districts to adopt threat assessment policies.
Mississippi Administrative Code 7-192 Mississippi School Safety Manual
Evaluating school safety procedures and practices is an ongoing process. One of the first steps in designing a School Safety Plan is the evaluation of the school's current safety status and statistics. When drafting a school safety plan, a safety committee shall be formed with representatives of all elements of the school and community responders. This plan shall be reviewed by all involved and signed off on by each entity involved. The plan shall be reviewed/revised annually during the summer and submitted for board approval. The school safety plan must have annual board approval.
The purpose of this assessment is to increase district knowledge of gaps or areas of needed improvement, evaluate the procedures for legality and consistency, and to initiate new policies based on assessment findings. It is recommended that a comprehensive school safety assessment be conducted by either MDE's Division of School Safety, a certified SRO, or a School Safety Administrator that uses MDE Standard for assessment.
It is also recommended the assessment instruments be used to assess perceptions of school safety on the part of staff, faculty, and students. It should be remembered that perceptions do not necessarily reflect facts regarding school safety. The Division of School Safety will assist in these areas upon request.
Culture and Climate Assessment: In schools with positive climates, students are more likely to feel connected to adults and their peers. This fosters a nurturing environment where students are more likely to succeed, feel safe, and report threats. A school culture and climate assessment evaluates student and staff connectedness to the school and help identify problem behaviors. For example, this assessment may reveal a high number of bullying incidents, indicating the need to implement an anti-bullying program. Purpose and Results
- a. Knowledge of students, and staff perceptions as to their safety.
- b. Knowledge of problem behaviors that should be addressed to improve school climate.
School Threat Assessment: A school threat assessment analyzes communication and behaviors to determine whether a student, staff, or other person may pose a threat. These assessments must be based on fact, must comply with applicable privacy, civil, and other laws. The threat assessment team is separate from the planning team and meets on its own regular schedule.
Mississippi Code 37-3-93. School Crisis Management Program; quick response teams; toll-free telephone service for reporting school violence; certified threat assessment officers and duties thereof.
(3) As a component of the School Crisis Management Program, the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security shall develop a curriculum, train and certify threat assessment officers. A certified threat assessment officer shall conduct an annual inspection and threat assessment of each public school in the state. The threat assessment officer shall develop an improvement plan for each school inspected. The assessment shall include the inspection of surveillance equipment and building-specific floor plans. The findings of the inspection and threat assessment, including a copy of the improvement plan shall be provided to local law enforcement agencies and the local school board within four (4) weeks of completion.