Maryland County to Train Threat Assessment Teams

Maryland County to Train Threat Assessment Teams

Harford County will train five to six staff members from each school to become part of their school threat assessment team in compliance with the Maryland Safe to Learn Act.

Next month, five to six staff members from each school in Harford County will be trained in threat assessment, becoming part of their school’s threat assessment team. This is part of an ongoing effort to improve school safety, and each team is required to by Sept. 1 by the Maryland Safe to Learn Act.

Buck Hennigan, executive director of student services, said that most of the employees are already trained in threat assessment, but this training will be provided to reinforce and comply with the Safe to Learn Act.

“This is not new for us,” Hennigan said. “We’ve had folks in schools responding to threats for a long time.”

In addition to the Safe to Learn Act, the Active Assailant Critical Response Training (AACRT) will be implemented across the school system. This training follows the run-hide-fight model.

“This is about how do we respond when we have knowledge when somebody is felling as though they want to do something, Hennigan said. “It’s separate, but it’s all tied in.”

The school system’s Trauma Response Manual will also be updated in collaboration with school psychologists, pupil personnel workers and school counselors.

Experts trained by Dewey Cornell, who is a forensic clinical psychologist, Professor of Education in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and considered an expert in threat assessments, will be responsible for training 150 staff members each day for two days to provide “more concrete knowledge on how to respond in the event of a threat,” Hennigan said.

“Typically it’s the student services folks who respond to interact with these students to determine if the threat is transit or substantive — to figure out if it’s something said because you’re angry or something you truly plan on doing,” Hennigan said.

About the Author

Kaitlyn DeHaven is the Associate Content Editor for the Infrastructure Solutions Group at 1105 Media.