Firestorm Alert: Most Recent School Shooting and Heightened Awareness of Copycat Activity

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In light of the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck HS, Firestorm CEO Harry Rhulen cautions on Copycat activity:

BeRThA diagramSomething that has been firmly documented over a lengthy period of time is that any time there is a high profile event, featured by the media, such as a shooting or a bombing, the potential for copycat violence is high.

Copycat violence does not have to take the exact same form as the reported event. Mixed in with our general population are a number of people who for one reason or another are on the fence about committing some type of violent act. Often, these people have exhibited behavioral warning signs, but have not acted out.

It is essential, that all school administrators and staff be on notice that the shootings at the Canadian Parliament and the most recent school shooting, today, in the state of Washington have the potential to spawn violence in their school.

All members of the Behavioral Assessment Team should review the individuals captured in the school’s central repository with an eye towards those who might be triggered by such an event. Teachers and staff should be placed on notice of any individuals who might need additional support. Furthermore, overall vigilance should be stepped up and students should be reminded that anonymous reporting is available and encouraged.

It is essential that all schools pay particular attention to their social media monitoring process. This process is essential to identifying those students who have never exhibited behaviors of concern, but who may now be agitated by the current situation.

Your school’s Behavioral Risk and Threat Assessment process should be implemented. The Behavioral Assessment Team should be prepared to meet on a more frequent basis than the one week interval recommended in the plan. Counseling resources should be available if the team feels there is a need.

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