BERWYN, PA — Congress hasn’t yet acted to protect children in our schools, but new guidance from the U.S. Secret Service could make a huge difference. In the absence of meaningful gun regulation, the Secret Service has recognized that the most effective mechanism for schools to prevent targeted violence is with a BIT (Behavioral Intervention Team).
Its recent guidebook, Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model, notes that schools that set up programs in advance for assessing threats, rather than trying to establish them in a crisis, do better at identifying students of concern, assessing their risk for violence, and finding ways to reduce the threat. The National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA) has developed a proven process for doing just that and has helped to implement teams at more than 1,800 schools across the country.
Many of the recommendations of the Secret Service directly mirror elements of the BIT model that NaBITA has been continually evolving and improving since 2009. Every school should have a BIT, and NaBITA hopes to be the key resource that schools need to get their teams up and running – quickly and effectively. NaBITA publishes several “how-to” guides, such as The Book on BIT and the CARE Team Manual, and offers all the forms, checklists, and risk assessment tools that a school needs to prevent the preventable.
NaBITA Founder Brett A. Sokolow, Esq., stated that “We are very excited to see the recommendations from the Secret Service. In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, NaBITA set out to create an evidence-based model of prevention, and that research also undergirds the Secret Service’s approach. Gun control is such a hot button topic right now, and it seems to be non-starter at this point, federally. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be effective at preventing school shootings. I think every college, pK-12 school and community can use the BIT model to identify leakage and engage the mechanisms of effective prevention and intervention. We’ve shown it with hundreds of cases at schools using the NaBITA model that have prevented suicides, shootings, and other acts of violence. If Congress is looking for a bipartisan prevention solution, perhaps it should mandate BITs in every college, pK-12 school, and community. Several states, such as Illinois and Virginia have already mandated teams, and it’s working. I hope you’ll join NaBITA today and become part of the movement to effectively protect our schools and communities.”
An active and engaging association with over 1,200 school and college members, NaBITA hosts an annual conference, an annual Campus Threat Management Certification Institute, several certification trainings per year, publishes a weekly newsletter, maintains a listserv, provides online webinars, offers complete table-top exercises, and surveys practitioners biannually to continually monitor and understand school needs and trends.
NaBITA is a clearinghouse for more than 180 BIT-related model policies, training tools, templates, and other BIT-related materials. NaBITA’s assessment instruments are research-based, its scholarly journal is peer-reviewed, and annual whitepapers are authored by thought leaders within the field. The 2018 Catalog is available now as a comprehensive guide to the wide array of BIT-related products, services, training, and professional development opportunities offered by the association.
NaBITA is pleased to be recognized in the Secret Service guide as a resource for schools in the area of threat assessment. Since 2009, NaBITA has been committed to providing education, development, and support to school and workplace professionals who endeavor every day to make their schools, campuses and workplaces safer through caring prevention and intervention. NaBITA is led by Executive Director Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D., an expert on violence and mental health prevention. National Public Radio interviewed Van Brunt this year, to discuss early intervention as a means of preventing violence.
Dr. Van Brunt shares, “It is wonderful to see law enforcement working in tandem with social services to address the importance of early reporting through the development of a positive culture, arguing for a low intervention threshold, and stressing an evidence-based threat assessment rather than a mental health-only assessment.”
NaBITA is a not-for-profit association headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
Source: National Behavioral Intervention Team Association, 1109 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn PA 1931
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