Pittsylvania Co., VA - Tuesday, the Pittsylvania County school board formally adopted a new policy to put threat assessment teams at all county schools.
Superintendent James McDaniel says the teams have already been in action in schools throughout the county, but having the policy on the books reinforces their commitment to protecting students.Last Spring, a potential threat involving a Pittsylvania County School made its way to the desk of Superintendent James McDaniel.He did not take the situation lightly.
"When the students got off the bus, I was there to meet the students, " he said.
The threat turned out to be a false alarm, but he says incidents like that show the importance of having a threat assessment team in place.
"They would begin by assessing the level of the threat. That would determine how we would go forward in regard to a response, " McDaniel said.
The teams are made up of administrators, teachers, psychologists and SRO's. They are trained to assess a variety of threatening behavior.
"Could be a threat that's made either physically, verbally, even in gesture, " he said.
The teams were first put in place at the college level following the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, but this year, the state is requiring all secondary school systems to implement threat assessment policies.
"It just actually gave some more traction to what we were doing, " said Dr. Dave Cochran with Danville Public Schools.
The Danville school system has been participating in threat assessment studies and training since 2011.
School board officials hope to have their new policy approved by August.
"We look at every conceivable strategy that can be employed to keep our students safe. That is a number one priority, " Cochran said.