Create a Culture That Encourages the Reporting of Concerning Behavior

When taking a holistic approach to safety and security, school leadership must ensure they are addressing threat assessment and threat management. Just having a threat assessment team and plan is not enough.

Schools need to develop programs and cultures that encourage reporting of concerning behavior, not only out of the concern for the safety of the community but out of care for the individual exhibiting the concerning behavior, as well. It is impossible to predict violent behavior with certainty, but we can identify actions that might indicate someone is on a path to violence. Programs like those offered by Sandy Hook Promise address the genuine issue of bullying in schools and can help in early identification and intervention of students exhibiting concerning behaviors.

The following press release can be found on their website: 




Sandy Hook Promise to Partner with Broward County Public Schools to Train Students

How to Identify Warning Signs of At-Risk Individuals Before Violence Happens


Newtown, CT – As the community of Broward County continues to heal from the devastating shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018, school officials are taking steps to ensure that its students are safe as they head back to school in the fall. One measure the school district is taking is to train students how to identify, intervene, and get help for someone exhibiting at-risk behaviors, as well as how to create a more connected and inclusive community through its partnership with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP).

“As a mom who has also experienced devastating loss from a school shooting, I understand that safety is a top priority for every parent in Broward County, and across the country, as students head back to school. Sandy Hook Promise is honored to partner with this resilient community to train its students how to be ‘upstanders’ in their community,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and the mother of 6-year-old Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Broward County Public Schools plan to roll out two of SHP’s proven programs to its students, Say Something and Start With Hello.

The Say Something program teaches youth and adults the signs of at-risk behaviors and how to properly intervene before that person harms themselves or others. In 4 out of 5 school shootings, the attacker told someone of his/her plans prior to the attack and 70% of people who complete suicide told someone of their intention or gave some type of warning. To date, trained students have helped avert multiple school violence plots, teen suicides, and other acts of violence and self-harm.

SHP’s Start With Hello program empowers students to create an inclusive and connected community by reaching out to those who may be chronically isolated, marginalized, or rejected to let them know that they are valued. Social isolation, which is a growing epidemic across the country and in our schools, is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violence and suicidal behavior. Young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression, and as a result, many pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development, and may choose to hurt themselves or others. Schools that have rolled out this program have reported a decrease in bullying and how students have created a culture of looking out for one another.

For more information, go to or email

Since its inception, Sandy Hook Promise has educated over 3.5 million youths and adults in all 50 states with its Know The Signs Programs on mental health & wellness, identification of at-risk behaviors and how to take action and get help before a situation escalates. Those trained are now able to spread SHP’s vital messages and help prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens.

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults to identify, intervene and get help for at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human-side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information, visit or call 203-304-9780.



Media Contact:

Dini von Mueffing Communications

Stephanie Morris


What Makes School Resource Officer Programs Successful?

If utilized correctly, a School Resource Officer (SRO) can be a valuable addition to any district safety and security program. Sometimes, however, the SRO can end up being a daily reminder of the cultural and philosophical differences that exist between school districts and police departments. It is essential for schools and police to work together to keep students safe.

This article published on gives some helpful recommendations for a successful SRO program.

School Resource Officer: A Collision of Philosophies Makes it Unique

Newly released standards focus on what makes a successful SRO program.


The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) announced a set of recommended standards for deploying School Resource Officers (SRO) successfully.

SROs can be one of the effective layers of security for schools but there are keys to getting the right fit that include the right officer, collaboration between law enforcement and schools and having an understanding between law enforcement and school district of what is expected from each for the position to be successful.

“It’s not for everybody,” said Mo Canady, NASRO executive director. “It’s kind of a collision of philosophies, bringing law enforcement and education together, but if done the right way can be a difference-maker.”

The recommendations included four main areas:

  1. Administrative standards, including an outline of the definition and purpose of an SRO.
  2. The careful selection of law enforcement officers for SRO positions.
  3. Specialized SRO training, including adolescent mental health, threat assessment and active shooter response.
  4. Interagency collaboration between school districts and law enforcement agencies.

Canady said one of the most important pieces to the successful equation is a foundational memorandum of understanding, signed by the school superintendent and the sheriff or police chief.

“It’s really impossible for the program to be successful if the school district and the law enforcement agency are not on the same sheet of music,” he said. “It doesn’t mean they have to agree on everything but there’s got to be foundational agreements for how it’s going to work.”
He said the No. 1 goal of an SRO program is effectively connecting to youth through relationships.

Some of those foundational keys include the roles each entity will play, the chain of command, who the SRO ultimately reports to, issues surrounding arrest procedures, and how to handle disciplinary matters. Those vary by jurisdiction, but there are solid standards.

Selection of the officer is critical. It has to someone passionate about working with youth and someone with experience, whether professional or volunteered, leading young people, such as through being a coach or scout leader. “As a former SRO supervisor, that may have been the biggest challenge I had and the most important challenge,” Canady said. “It’s the most unique position in law enforcement, there’s a lot involved in the package.”

It’s a high-visibility position in the community as well, so there is pressure on both the office and the police or sheriff’s department because putting the wrong person in that position can cause headaches for everyone involved.

The candidate should have at least three years of police work. That allows for a good frame of reference and a chance for recruiters to get a real feel for the person. Tactical experience is important too, as are firearms skills. “He has to be a well-balanced officer,” Canady said.

There is an initial 40-hour training course, but training is ongoing and varied. “They have to be able to take the skills they have and apply that to the school environment,” Canady said. “They have to learn about things like understanding the adolescent brain, special education and working with diverse groups of students, how to interact with educators.”

There are also state and national trainings and most SROs spend the summer months or those times when school is out on continued education.