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Office of School Safety Provides Behavioral and Threat Assessment Management Training Ahead of 25th Anniversary of Columbine Shooting

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//April 17, 2024//

Wisconsin Abortion

Attorney General Josh Kaul staff photo: Steve Schuster

Office of School Safety Provides Behavioral and Threat Assessment Management Training Ahead of 25th Anniversary of Columbine Shooting

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//April 17, 2024//

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On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of School Safety (OSS) is holding a Behavioral and Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) training in Appleton, Wis. ahead of the 25-year anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Col. that occurred on April 20, 1999.

BTAM trainings are designed to provide school administrators, school mental health professionals, security personnel, community partners, and law enforcement with an understanding of why threat assessment is an important part of violence prevention in schools, according to officials.

“It has been 25 years since the Columbine tragedy, and, sadly, violence in schools hasn’t gone away. The need to be vigilant about school safety has only become clearer,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul.

“That’s why trainings like this one offered by the Office of School Safety are critical: we must take a proactive approach to keeping kids safe in school,” Kaul added.

Acts of targeted violence continue to impact the safety and security of our communities. These acts of targeted violence are not impulsive or irrational; rather the perpetrators of these incidents decide to commit violence and often undertake clear processes of planning and preparing in which threats or potentially concerning behaviors can be identified, Kaul noted.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, OSS’ training will provide school specific applications and best practice recommendations for BTAM teams. School teams have an opportunity to provide proactive, effective alternatives to reactive and exclusionary disciplinary practices. The focus of this session is to familiarize participants with the BTAM process, clarify team member roles and responsibilities, increase understanding of who poses a threat in a school, and how to respond effectively through development of an intervention plan of support and management.

Additionally, assisting community bystanders with tools on what to report and where to report it.

Wednesday’s training is one of eleven being held around the state throughout the first half of the year, to ensure as many locations as possible have access to BTAM trainings. Training locations include Pewaukee, Whitewater, Fennimore, West Salem, Portage, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Gillett, Tomahawk, Chippewa Falls, and Turtle Lake.

In addition to the training, OSS offers a free eLearning module titled, “Foundations of Targeted Violence Prevention,” open to all community members. The course was created in partnership by OSS, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, National Threat Evaluation and Reporting office. The goal of the course is to educate the public on threatening or potentially concerning behaviors and where to report them, providing an opportunity for intervention to prevent targeted violence from occurring.

As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 1050 into law in March, providing bridge funding for the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety (OSS) to continue its work supporting school safety around the state of Wisconsin through September 2025.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the OSS was created in 2018 to keep students safe at school and has become a critical resource for students, teachers, school administrators and communities throughout Wisconsin, with the intent to prevent violence in schools and respond quickly to promote recovery, should events occur.

The short-term, “bridge funding” will provide the state an opportunity to provide stable, ongoing funding for the OSS as part of the 2025-2027 biennial budget.

Also as previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, earlier in March, the Wisconsin Senate voted to continue funding the Office of School Safety (OSS), prompting immediate praise from Kaul, who had long been advocating for funds.

Kaul complimented Republican and Democrat legislators in both houses who passed the measure earlier this month.

“Our Office of School Safety is making a difference in an area of paramount importance: the safety of our kids. That office works to proactively prevent violence in schools and trains educators, students and staff to recognize and mitigate crises and trauma,” said Kaul earlier in March.

Both Republican and Democrat Wisconsin officials stood in solidarity earlier in June 2023, advocating for additional funds for Wisconsin’s Crime Lab. The Criminal Justice Coalition gathered in Madison expressing support for critical investments needed to be made in Wisconsin’s criminal justice system, as previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal.

Additional information is available by clicking here.


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