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SCRUTINEER-FOREIGN AFFAIRS

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How the US is tackling school shootings ...
How the US is tackling school shootings

In the wake of a series of traumatic school shootings, the secret service has joined forces with the Department of Education in the US.

The murder of 12 pupils and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999 brought the issue to the fore.

The secret service has been using its risk assessment expertise to identify the type of students who might turn guns on their classmates.

The goal of the Safe School Initiative is to provide accurate information to school administrators, educators, law enforcement professionals and others. The study has analysed 37 school shooting incidents occurring over the past 25 years and involving 41 perpetrators. It has found that none of these were 'impulsive actions'.

'We are sharing the way we use methodology and carry out danger assessments,'says Jim Makin a spokesperson for the US secret service.

The National Threat Assessment Center has interviewed the shooters

in an attempt to further increase understanding of the patterns of communication, planning and preparation that precede these attacks.

'It was not a case of a kid getting up in the morning and saying, 'I'm going to take a gun to school today' and shoot somebody,' said Bryan Vossekuil,

co-director of the Safe School Initiative.

The research shows there is no single 'typical' shooter, but there are patterns which might alert adults to potential risks.

The majority of students who attacked other students had previously complained of being bullied.

Building on a recent operational study of US assassins, attackers and near-lethal approaches of public officials, the centre will provide assessment training relevant to

school- based violence and assist organisations interested in developing threat-assessment programs.

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