UVA Leads Threat Assessment Efforts in New National Center for School Safety

The University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Human Development has been named a partner in the National Center for School Safety, a new center established with a $6 million grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dewey Cornell, professor of education, and Jennifer Maeng, research assistant professor, will take the lead role in the new center’s efforts on School Threat Assessment and Intervention. Their work will provide K-12 schools with training and technical assistance on school safety and violence prevention.

Center work at the University of Virginia will build on 18 years of research and development on school threat assessment conducted by Cornell.

“We have developed strong evidence in support of school threat assessment as a school violence prevention strategy and alternative to zero tolerance discipline,” said Cornell. “We look forward to this opportunity to help the field establish national training standards and best practices in threat assessment for schools to maintain a safe and supportive school climate for learning.”

One of the first tasks of the center will be the establishment of a national cadre of threat assessment experts to build consensus on school threat assessment policies and practices.  

The center will be hosted by the University of Michigan School of Public Health with partners at the Association of School Superintendents, Michigan State University, National Council of Behavioral Health, National Association of Elementary School Principals, Sandy Hook Promise, and University of California, Los Angeles.

With initial funding for three years, the center will provide training and technical assistance in seven areas: threat assessment, crisis intervention, law enforcement training, violence prevention/mental health, notification technology, deterrent measures, and capacity building.