Report: Colorado ranked 10th for school threats

DENVER — A report from the Educator’s School Safety Network said Colorado is ranked 10th for school threats, up from 24th the previous year.

According to its website, the Educator’s School Safety Network is a non-profit organization “dedicated to empowering educators with education-based school safety training and resources.”

The ranking is based on a composite score based on four sub-categories: The number of violent threats, the number of violent incidents, the number of violent threats per million residents and the number of incidents per million residents.

While California received the largest number of threats, it did not appear on the top-10 list for states of greatest concern because of its large population.

Michigan was named the state of greatest concern. It ranked high in three of the four categories.

According to the organization’s data, Colorado schools received 59 threats during the 2017-2018 school year, meaning there were 10.52 threats per 1 million people.

The report also said that during the most recent school year, threats of violence in schools nationwide increased 62 percent over the year before. Actual incidents of violence increased 113 percent.

About half (51 percent) of all school threats and incidents of violence occurred in 11 states.

The Educator’s School Safety Network outlined several recommendations moving forward, saying there is no short-term solution that will solve the problem.

“Solutions for the states of concern lie in sustained professional development and training for all school stakeholders that comes from an education, not law enforcement perspective,” the report said.

The organization’s recommendations include:

  • Training in research-based violence prevention approaches that are specific to schools
  • Training designed specifically for schools that deals with planning for, preventing and responding to bomb threats and incidents.
  • Training for educators on identifying and mitigating vulnerabilities in both the physical site and in school climate and culture.
  • Creation and appropriate training of threat assessment teams in all school buildings to allow staff to identify, assess, and manage individuals of concern who may pose a threat of violence to themselves or others.

“It is critical for educators and emergency responders to be equally involved in training, prevention, and response as it pertains to violence in schools,” according to the study.

“Educators must secure a prominent ‘seat at the table’ and be active, equal partners in preventing and responding to violent threats and incidents in schools.”

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