Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $347,250)
The Whitney Point Central School District (WPCSD), located in Broome County, New York will implement an innovative blend of evidence-based behavioral threat assessment and intervention training for District staff and law enforcement partners; technology solutions to help identify threats; training for staff in safety and wellness topics; and student-led social marketing to create a district-wide culture that supports violence awareness and threat reporting. This will assist in preventing violence by identifying potentially violent situations and intervening before they escalate, and by promoting violence and wellness awareness among students and staff.
The WPCSD serves approximately 1,400 students in grades preK-12 in three buildings. The District is located in a highly rural area that includes11 municipalities in four counties, spanning 140 square miles. The students face many risk factors for violence including self-reported behavior in anonymous surveys, large numbers of incidents of assaults and threats of violence, and referrals by staff for threat assessment, suicide risk assessment, referrals to law enforcement and referrals to the local mental health Crisis Center.
The project design includes training for District-Level and Building-Level Behavioral Threat Assessment Teams in the CSTAG model (Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines) and suicide awareness and prevention; implementation of case management software to guide the team through the CSTAG process and document interventions; anonymous threat reporting software for mobile or web-based devices; email and social media scanning; training for staff in safety and wellness topics; and implementation of Sandy Hook Promise materials to create a culture of violence awareness, prevention, and reporting. Partners in the project include the Broome County District Attorney’s School Resource Officer Program and Broome County Sheriff’s Office. Both agencies will designate individuals to participate on the District Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, participate in CSTAG trainings, assist the WPCSD in assessing threats, and intervene with individuals making threats as appropriate and as determined by CSTAG protocols.
Expected outcomes of the project include a 25% reduction in referrals to the Crisis Center by the end of the grant period; a 20% reduction annually in discipline referrals; an increase by 90% of participants in CSTAG training in their knowledge of threat assessment principles; completion of CSTAG train-the-trainer for two District staff to turnkey training to building-level staff; and implementation of safety and wellness training plans for all student-facing staff.