Jeffrey Daniels, Ph.D.
Resources used to understand lethal school violence have increased since Columbine (1999). While a significant body of research exists on completed acts of school violence, less is known about attacks that were averted. Existing research includes a study that found six ways in which planned attacks were discovered, a study in which six primary themes from schools who prevented an attack, and a study of the extent to which students broke the “code of silence” when it came to reporting attack plots to the authorities. This paper presents initial findings from 51 averted school attacks in the Police Foundation’s ASV database, focusing first on case studies and followed by descriptive statistical analyses on the 51 cases. Analysis begins with basic information about each case, followed by descriptions of the schools at which the events were averted, an examination of how the plots were discovered, and what actions were taken to avert violence in schools. Several findings were identified and categorized by student, parent, school personnel, and the police. Themes of the findings include reporting of concerns, preventative measures, and responses to an attack. Recommendations for police officers, law enforcement administrators, and school administrators fall into the following categories: preparation; develop relationships; break the “code of silence”; know the school culture; know the physical facilities; take all reports seriously; assume nothing; and “there is no profile.”
Daniels, J. (2019). A preliminary report on the Police Foundation’s Averted School Violence database. National Police Foundation. https://www.policefoundation.org/publication/a-preliminary-report-on-the-police-foundations-averted-school-violence-database/