Keeping Our Schools Safe: A Safety Assessment Approach


Instructor: Nancy Rappaport, MD

This full-day workshop will provide schools with a roadmap to creating a safety assessment team, allowing them to understand how this team should work as part of a robust approach to school safety. Dr. Rappaport will detail her comprehensive school safety assessment approach for students whose behavior raises concern about their potential for violence. Individuals are welcome, but schools may wish to send their entire safety assessment team.

Targeted school violence is rare, making schools relatively safe places although the school shootings are devastating and have fueled a culture of fear. Every school must assess and be familiar with basic concepts for quickly and comprehensively assessing the safety of students who are volatile and may make threats, write a hit list, destroy property, or post concerning content online. The safety assessment model emphasizes understanding the context of the behavior and helping adults mobilize the resources needed to address the student’s and family’s needs and enhance the student’s safety, connection, and well-being.

Participants will learn how to create guidelines for safety assessment and get buy-in from the school, how the safety assessment team fits with other parts of a school safety plan, how to differentiate transient versus substantive threats, which key questions to ask, and how to effectively communicate with families. They will collaborate to use role-play to practice interviewing students and reaching out to families and will work on case studies that will allow them to apply the principles they have learned and learn from each other’s rich experience.

This presentation will draw from Dr. Rappaport’s research and clinical work as a child psychiatrist consulting to schools to present a model that can help prevent school violence while getting students and families the services they need. The content will draw from Dr. Rappaport’s publications, research, and experience with safety assessments in schools, as well as the work of the Safe Schools Initiative, Cornell & Sheras, and others.

Specific learning objectives:

1. Discuss how an effective safety assessment team fits into a comprehensive approach to school safety
2. Differentiate between substantive and transient threats and provide critical information to stakeholders
3. Identify key warning signs and questions to ask students

Program Code: SAA6
Credits: 6
Fees: $140 for CE credits; $70 for no CE credits


  • When

  • Friday, November 1, 2019
    9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • William James College
    1 Wells Avenue
    Newton, Massachusetts 02459

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