Free Online Educational Programs on School Threat Assessment

  • Research Project

What We Do

New online educational programs are available for school use. These brief programs will help students, parents, and teachers understand the threat assessment process to prevent violence.

The programs are 15 minutes for students, 25 minutes for parents, and 25 minutes for teachers/staff, including evaluation questions to show how much participants learned.

In addition, there are 3 programs totaling 75 minutes for threat assessment teams.

The programs were successfully field-tested in 2016-17; all groups demonstrated large gains in knowledge of threat assessment after completing the programs.

Below is an excerpt from the student program:


The link to access all programs is: You can preview any of the programs using the preview codes:

  • Teacher/staff video preview: vtdsxh
  • Threat Assessment Team Member preview: vm6dbt
  • Student video preview: vs3fcf
  • Parent video preview: vpnm9q

We ask that these particular codes only be used by administrators to review the programs. If you want to use the programs in your school system, please contact Jennifer Maeng, Ph.D., project director at [email protected].  She will provide you with codes for your school system. 

These programs help schools meet the requirement for threat assessment teams to “provide guidance to students, faculty and staff regarding recognition of threatening or aberrant behavior that may represent a threat to the community, or school…” (Code of Virginia § 22.1-79.4)

This project was conducted by the Youth Violence Project of the School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. It was supported by Grant #NIJ 2014-CK-BX-0004 awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice or the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Threat Assessment Research Publications

This list presents peer-reviewed, published articles produced by the Virginia Youth Violence Project, Dr. Cornell’s research team in the University of Virginia’s School of Education and Human Development. The initial studies referred to the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines, which in 2018 was renamed the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines. This list does not include book chapters or descriptive articles that do not present original findings.

Field Tests

Cornell, D., Sheras, P. Kaplan, S., McConville, D., Douglass, J., Elkon, A., Knight, L., Branson, C., & Cole, J. (2004). Guidelines for student threat assessment: Field-test findings. School Psychology Review, 33, 527-546.

Kaplan, S., & Cornell, D. (2005). Threats of violence by students in special education. Behavioral Disorders, 31, 107-119.

Strong, K., & Cornell, D. (2008). Student threat assessment in Memphis City Schools: A descriptive report. Behavioral Disorders, 34, 42-54.

Controlled Studies

Cornell, D., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2011). Reductions in long-term suspensions following adoption of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines. Bulletin of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, 95, 175-194.

Cornell, D., Allen, K., & Fan, X. (2012). A randomized controlled study of the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines in grades K-12. School Psych Review, 41, 100-115.

Cornell, D., Sheras, P., Gregory, A., & Fan, X. (2009). A retrospective study of school safety conditions in high schools using the Virginia Threat Assessment Guidelines versus alternative approaches. School Psychology Quarterly, 24, 119-129.

Nekvasil, E., Cornell, D. (2015). Student threat assessment associated with safety in middle schools. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management 2, 98-113. doi: http://

Maeng, J., Cornell, D., & Huang, F. (2019). Student threat assessment as an alternative to exclusionary discipline. Journal of School Violence, doi: 10.1080/15388220.2019.1707682

Disciplinary Outcomes and Race/Ethnicity

JustChildren and Cornell, D. (2013). Prevention v. punishment: Threat assessment, school suspensions, and racial disparities. 

Cornell, D., Maeng, J., Huang, F., Shukla, K., & Konold, T. (2018). Racial/ethnic parity in disciplinary consequences using student threat assessment. School Psychology Review, 47, 183-195. doi: 10.17105/SPR-2017-0030.V47-2

Cornell, D. & Lovegrove, P. (2015). Student threat assessment as a method for reducing student suspensions. In D. Losen (Ed.), Closing the School Discipline Gap: Research for Policymakers (pp. 180-191). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Studies of Training Effects

Allen, K., Cornell, D., Lorek, E., & Sheras, P. (2008). Response of school personnel to student threat assessment training. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 19, 319- 332.

Stohlman, S., & Cornell, D. (2019). An online educational program to increase student understanding of threat assessment. Journal of School Health, 89 (11), 899-906.

Stohlman, S., Konold, T., & Cornell, D. (2020). Evaluation of threat assessment training for school personnel. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management.

Studies of Implementation

Burnette, A. G., Datta, P. & Cornell, D. G. (2018). The distinction between transient and substantive student threats. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, 5, 4-20.

Burnette, A.G., Huang, F., Maeng, J.L., & Cornell, D. (2018). School threat assessment versus suicide assessment: Statewide prevalence and case characteristics. Psychology in the Schools, 1-15. doi: 10.1002/pits.22194

Cornell, D., & Maeng, J. (2018). Statewide implementation of threat assessment in Virginia K-12 schools. Contemporary School Psychology, 22, 116-124. doi: 10.1007/s40688-017-0146-x

Cornell, D., Maeng, J., Burnette, A.G., Jia, Y., Huang, F., Konold, T., Datta, P., Malone, M., Meyer, P. (2017). Student threat assessment as a standard school safety practice: Results from a statewide implementation study. School Psychology Quarterly.

Burnette, A. G., Konold, T., & Cornell, D. (2019). Grade-level distinctions in student threats of violence. Journal of School Violence.

Maeng, J., Malone, M., & Cornell, D. (2020). Student threats of violence against teachers: Prevalence and outcomes using a threat assessment approach. Teacher and Teacher Education, 87, 1-11.

Related Lab

  • YVP
  • Research Lab

Youth Violence Project

The Virginia Youth Violence Project is a research group composed of faculty and graduate students in the UVA School of Education and Human Development. We conduct research on youth violence prevention and school safety and provide training and consultation on topics such as threat assessment, bullying prevention, and forensic psychology. Through our work, we have developed strong evidence in support of school threat assessment as a school violence prevention strategy and alternative to zero tolerance discipline.