Threat assessment team is created to protect staff and students


Ayaana Pradhan

The threat assessment team was created to assess and treat threats made against individual schools, students, and staff.

Sydney Burleyson, Headlines Editor

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a new law that states all schools must identify staff for a threat assessment team and have a set threat assessment procedure in place as of Feb. 2020. The purpose of these teams is to have a set group of trained staff who are responsible for assessing threats made against the school or individual students or staff. The team must include a school psychologist, an administrator, a teacher, a school counselor, and a school social worker. In addition, one law enforcement official must be included. 

Threat assessment teams are made up of a board of school officials who thoroughly assess threats made against the school by investigating the individual who posed the threat in order to successfully provide support and resources.  

Threat assessment is not new to Metea and support staff have provided these assessments prior to the creation of this law. School psychologists and social workers are always available to students who might be struggling with thoughts of violence or harm. 

“It was actually a law that was put into place pre-pandemic,” Metea psychologist Lisa Aguilar said. “Pritzker had created a safety bill that schools must operate under, and he amended every school to have a threat assessment team.”

District 203 schools have experienced many cases of having to send students home due to threats being made against the schools, as well as an increase in online threats being posted by students. 

“The goal is really to be able to thoroughly and consistently assess any threats that are coming into the building, and be able to give students support,” Aguilar said. 

When a threat is made that targets the safety of staff and students, the team is responsible for investigating the individual who made the threat and determining if the situation could escalate. Meanwhile, a separate investigation will be made by the Aurora Police Department if deemed necessary. 

“If there is a threat made, I am the one who does the investigating for that individual person,” school resource officer Troy Kern said.

While the threat assessment team is not responsible for directly dealing with stopping the threat and the actual punishment that goes along with it, they are there to analyze and assess the threat they are dealing with and provide support.

“We look at the specific individual and decide if they pose a future threat,” Kern said.

Social media has played a big role in school threats, with students having the access to posting things anonymously online. Although students attempt to post things online, it is advised that students report any threats found on social media.

“The best thing students can do is report threats found online to a staff member at the building who can then act to assess the situation properly,” Aguilar said.