Threat Assessment

PWCS Threat Assessment

Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) is committed to providing safe learning environments for all students, staff, and school visitors, and communications or behaviors that suggest a student may intend to commit an act of violence are taken seriously. When a school administrator receives information that suggests a student may intend to harm someone else, the school threat assessment team gathers information to assess the level of threat and to make recommendations that will reduce the risk of violence.

PWCS policy and procedures follow the guidelines recommended by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and are consistent with the process for identifying, assessing, and managing students who may pose a threat set forth in Threat Assessment in Schools: A Guide to Managing Threatening Situation and to Creating Safe School Climates, a 2002 publication of the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education.

Regulation 777-1 "Threat Assessment Procedures" outlines the procedures for the assessment and intervention of students whose behavior poses a potential threat to the safety of others and is available on the PWCS website.

Learn more about threat assessment in Virginia (PDF)

Say Something Anonymous Reporting System

Say Something is explicitly designed for students in grades 6-12 and staff to report serious or potentially violent concerns of unsafe behavior or threats of harm to self or others.

Learn more about the Say Something Tip Line

As always, please call 911 in cases of immediate emergency.

Threat Assessment Online Educational Program for Parents and Students

New online educational programs on school safety are available to help students and parents understand the threat assessment process for preventing violence.

The programs were successfully field-tested in 2016-17. All groups demonstrated large gains in knowledge of threat assessment and improved willingness to report threats to school officials after completing the programs.

We encourage all students age 12 and older – and their parents – to complete the online program. We also encourage parents to be available to discuss any questions their child may have after viewing the program. Please address any questions about the PWCS threat assessment policy and threat reporting to your child’s school administrator.

This 15-minute program is a way to learn about the threat assessment process used in your school and how it can prevent violence. You will be asked to identify your school, but not yourself when completing the online program. By the end of the program, parents/students will know/understand:

  • School safety is complex but severe violence in schools is rare and can be prevented
  • Threat assessment is a problem-solving approach for investigating threatening statements or behavior with the purpose of determining how serious a threat is, preventing violence, and resolving the situation
  • Threat assessment teams include individuals with expertise in admin, counseling, instruction, and law enforcement
  • How teams investigate threats of violence
  • Some threats are violations of state or federal law
  • How to report a threat to school officials
  • Discipline within a threat assessment approach is based on threat seriousness
  • There is research-based evidence to support threat assessment as a safe and effective practice that improves student behavior, reduces bullying, and reduces suspensions
  • How to talk to their child about the difference between snitching and seeking help

The online educational programs can be accessed through the School Safety and Threat Assessment website. The PWCS access code to view the educational program is:

  • Parent code: p3t2a5
  • Student code: s8egux

This program will help schools meet the requirement for threat assessment teams to “provide guidance to students, faculty and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, or school…” (Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.4)

This project is being conducted by the Youth Violence Project of the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Virginia Department of Education. It is supported by Grant #NIJ 2014-CK-BX-0004 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Dewey Cornell is the project’s principal investigator and Dr. Jennifer Maeng is the project director and can be contacted with questions at [email protected].