Secret Service releases report on school violence analysis

The Secret Service releases "Protecting America's Schools. A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence."
The Secret Service releases "Protecting America's Schools. A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence."

PARKLAND, Fla. – The Secret Service has released a new report on school violence after looking into dozens of attacks, including the February 2018 shooting rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that claimed that lives of 17 people.

The agency has been studying school violence for decades and Tuesday’s report was an update to their years of work.

“I was stunned and dismayed that the insights published over 20 years ago at NTAC had not been used to prevent the attack that killed my daughter,” Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter Alaina in the Parkland shooting, said.

“Had the tools developed by NTAC been used properly, my lovely daughter and 16 other wonderful souls taken in the massacre might still be here today,” Tony Montalto, who lost his daughter Gina in the same school shooting, said.

The Secret Service’s report listed key findings discovered in their study of the 41 attacks since the Columbine school shooting, including that “there is no profile of a student attacker, nor is there a profile for the type of school that has been targeted.”

According to the report, “attackers varied in age, gender, race, grade level, academic performance, and social characteristics.”

The report stated that schools affected also varied in location, size and student-teacher ratios.

The report advised that instead of focusing on “a set of traits or characteristics,” a threat assessment should focus on relevant information about a “student’s behaviors, situational factors, and circumstances to assess the risk of violence or other harmful outcomes.”

Below is a list of other key findings from the study:

♦ Attackers usually had multiple motives, the most common involving a grievance with classmates.

♦ Most attackers used firearms, and firearms were most often acquired from the home.

♦ Most attackers had experienced psychological, behavioral or developmental symptoms.

♦ Half of the attackers had interests in violent topics.

♦ All attackers experienced social stressors involving their relationships with peers and/or romantic partners.

♦ Nearly every attacker experienced negative home life factors.

♦ Most attackers were victims of bullying, which was often observed by others.

♦ Most attackers had a history of school disciplinary actions, and many had prior contact with law enforcement.

♦ All attackers exhibited concerning behaviors. Most elicited concern from others, and most communicated their intent to attack.

“This starts at the top,” Petty said. “Each superintendent needs to understand this material and implement it with fidelity on their districts.”

Click here to view the full report.

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