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This course assists professionals from schools and partnering agencies in identifying risk factors, prevention strategies, and management options for violent behavior, such as school shootings. The information provided highlights how threats of violence can be systematically investigated and how school and community attacks can be prevented when staff and community members understand threatening behavior, know how to identify signs of attack, and then move quickly to assess and de-escalate a situation.

About This Course

With the Salem-Keizer Cascade preventive behavioral threat assessment system as a model, the course provides a template for building a sustainable, school-based threat assessment system composed of school site teams and a community-based collaboration.

Specifically, this course provides: 

  • a review of the research and basic principles regarding threat assessment and threat management

  • an overview of an existing multi-disciplinary, multi-agency threat assessment and management system; a system that is protocol-driven, user-friendly, and designed for educators, SROs, school-based mental health professionals, juvenile justice services, etc.

  • an adaption of that system to the existing resources of this community.

  • training on the use of protocols for youth threat assessment 

  • a review of the steps and developmental procedures necessary to implement that system

  • lab exercises and case reviews


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Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, people, portfolios, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.

Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities (we use the honor code around here) and if your work meets the 85% requirements, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement. You can also apply for course credit (if desired).

Course Staff

John Van Dreal

John Van Dreal is a school psychologist and the retired director of security, safety, and risk management for the Salem-Keizer School District. He has more than 30 years of experience in preventive behavioral threat assessment and management, psycho-educational evaluation, crisis intervention, behavioral intervention, and security and risk management systems consultation. He is recognized internationally as an expert in threat assessment and as a pioneer of multidisciplinary threat assessment.

In 1999, he began the development and implementation of the Salem-Keizer Cascade Model, a multiagency student violence prevention and behavioral threat assessment system that is considered by experts to be a leading practice and is identified by the U.S. Department of Education and the What Works Clearinghouse as a best-practice program. In addition to behavioral threat assessment, the collaborative, multidisciplinary model is now a comprehensive preventive assessment and safety planning system that includes suicide risk assessment and prevention, fire misbehavior assessment, and problematic sexual behavior assessment and management. Through that collaboration, he has worked daily with educators, law enforcement, human resources, trial court personnel, juvenile justice, and mental health professionals in the assessment and management of youth and adult threats of aggression within schools, higher education, public and private institutions, and the community.

He has also served as a member of the Marion County Threat Advisory Team since 1999. He is the editor and principal author of the book, Assessing Student Threats: Implementing the Salem-Keizer System, Second Edition, and has co-authored a number of threat assessment and school security projects, including legislative proposals from the Oregon Governor’s Task Force on School Safety.

Please visit John’s website, John Van Dreal Consulting, to read his full bio and learn more about his experience, background, and services offered. 

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Course Code: BTA101
Course Release: Jan 11, 2021
Estimated Effort: 4 Hours

Suggested Prerequisites:

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